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


Green groups deliver critical mid-term review of Barroso Commission

Press release | April 27, 2007 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — Ahead of the European Commission’s own performance assessment, environmental groups today issued a critical verdict on the Commission’s record in protecting and improving Europe’s environment during the first half of its term...

New IPCC report shocking: Running out of time for action

Press release | April 6, 2007 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — Greenpeace today welcomed the latest climate change report "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but warned that time was nearly out to prevent the dramatic, harmful...

«Il n’est pas trop tard»: Greenpeace plaide pour une politique planétaire de lutte...

Press release | April 2, 2007 at 0:00

Brussels, Belgium — Une arche géante abritant une exposition photos a été installée aujourd’hui à Bruxelles afin de rappeler aux décideurs politiques et au public la nécessité d’agir pour le climat tant qu’il est encore temps… (1)

"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.

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