Europe - more climate talk than walk

Activists entered a heavily guarded EU summit to tell European leaders to boost their climate commitments to save a climate summit in Copenhagen.

The EU likes to present its climate policies as a model for global green development. In fact, its current target - to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 against 1990 levels - is shamefully unambitious and fails to provide an incentive for action or technological innovation. Having made over 17 percent reductions by 2009, the EU has years to make just a few percent reductions, a target it will meet under a business as usual scenario.

Greenpeace is calling on the EU to increase its domestic climate target to 30 percent as a first step. There are strong environmental and economic arguments for doing so. A study by Oxford and Sorbonne Universities, among others, found that a 30 percent target could create a net six million new European jobs by 2020. Shifting away from fossil fuels will help shield Europe’s economies from ever unstable fuel prices. These are among the reasons why Unilever, Philips, Google and Axa are among nearly 100 major companies now calling on EU governments to support a 30 percent climate target.

Less developed parts of the EU, particularly Central and Eastern Europe, can unlock significant investments in carbon reduction and energy modernisation under a 30 percent climate target. To achieve this, the EU should create financial mechanisms for this region to mobilise private investment in, for example, buildings renovation, industrial energy efficiency and energy infrastructure programmes. This would deliver fuel cost savings, energy security and new jobs.

Greenpeace advocates strengthening the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which threatens to worsen rather than resolve Europe’s emissions. The EU should auction rather than give out free emission allowances, working within the market system to efficiently reduce the cost of climate action, maximise benefits and eliminate windfall profits. The scheme could and should be a driver for domestic emission reductions, geared to a 30 percent climate target. Any ‘carbon offset’ projects should be subject to strict criteria to guarantee real emissions cuts.

Internationally, the EU should be at the heart of a coalition to deliver a new international climate regime in the next years. This requires effective cooperation with progressive industrialised countries and emerging economies within and beyond the UN climate negotiations.

 

EU leadership could deliver headlines we would all be proud about

The latest updates

 

Trading must not hamper renewables target

Press release | February 28, 2008 at 0:00

Belgium — Greenpeace welcomes the broadly positive reception by ministers of the renewable energy directive published by the Commission in January(1), but warns member states that a flexibility mechanism must not undermine the EU’s chances of...

PLAN CLIMAT DE L'UE : UN BON DÉBUT

Press release | January 23, 2008 at 0:00

Avec la présentation aujourd'hui de son paquet de nouvelles réglementations européennes sur le climat et l’énergie, la Commission européenne fait selon Greenpeace un pas timide dans la bonne direction. Ce plan introduit des révisions...

EU CLIMATE PACKAGE: A GOOD START

Press release | January 23, 2008 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — With the release of its climate and energy package of new EU laws today, the European Commission has made a good but faltering start, according to Greenpeace. This package introduces a number of necessary policy overhauls in...

Briefing on the Commission ‘Climate & Energy Package’

Publication | January 22, 2008 at 0:00

Tomorrow, the European Commission will be presenting new legislation on climate & energy to secure the EU objectives it set itself last year. This will include a breakdown of Member State climate targets for 2020, a new framework for renewable...

Car industry's green claims a fairy tale says Greenpeace

Press release | January 17, 2008 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — As automobile shows opened in Brussels and Vienna today, Greenpeace challenged the European car manufacturers to stop undermining a European proposal for more fuel efficient cars, and instead take real action to lower the...

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