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

 

EU Strategic Energy Review is anything but strategic

Press release | February 19, 2009 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — Greenpeace criticised today’s conclusions by EU energy ministers on the Strategic Energy Review.

Reaction to Commission proposal on an economic recovery plan

Press release | January 28, 2009 at 0:00

Brussels, International — “The Commission has missed another opportunity to help create an environmentally sustainable energy system that would stimulate the European economy. Today’s money for clean energy pales in comparison to the hundreds of...

Commission proposes climate bailout

Press release | January 28, 2009 at 0:00

Brussels, International — Greenpeace welcomes today's proposal by the European Commission to give financial aid for climate protection in developing countries and to support new measures to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. However,...

Briefing paper on the European Commission ‘Copenhagen communication’

Publication | January 27, 2009 at 0:00

On 28 January 2009, the European Commission will present its ‘Copenhagen communication.’ This communication puts forward proposals ahead of international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December. It is expected to focus on how to reduce...

Greenpeace Czech EU Presidency briefing

Publication | January 7, 2009 at 0:00

Greenpeace sets out its expectations and priorities for the Czech Republic’s EU Presidency for the first six months of 2009, with a specific focus on climate and energy issues.

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