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

 

"It is not too late": Greenpeace Ark centres on global action against climate change

Press release | April 2, 2007 at 0:00

Belgium — Greenpeace today unveiled a giant Ark in the centre of Brussels and urged Governments and the public to act to save the climate while there is still time. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assembled in Brussels...

The Heat Is On: the role of marine reserves in boosting ecosystem resilience to...

Publication | March 27, 2007 at 0:00

The experts warn that we have eroded the ocean’s ability to cope with and mitigate the consequences of global warming.

Marine reserves essential to protect against climate change impacts

Press release | March 27, 2007 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — Europe needs to create an extensive network of nature reserves in the sea to protect against the consequences of global warming and help marine life survive the impacts of climate change, according to a discussion paper...

EU takes front seat on climate and clean energy

Press release | March 9, 2007 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — In the biggest such decision since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, EU leaders stepped up the momentum on climate change today, by deciding that the EU should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. Greenpeace...

Hot topics at the EU summit - Climate and Renewable Energy

Publication | March 5, 2007 at 0:00

Media briefing for European Council 8-9 March 2007

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