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

 

European Parliament supports temporary Emissions Trading Scheme fix

Press release | July 3, 2013 at 13:41

Brussels - Greenpeace welcomes today’s vote in the European Parliament to support a stronger than expected fix to the EU’s ailing carbon market, but warns that the plan will have only a temporary effect. Without further structural changes, such...

EU legislators give in to German bullying on car efficiency standards

Press release | June 24, 2013 at 22:50

Brussels – German car-makers could secure a two or three-year delay in carbon emission standards for cars sold in Europe in 2020, warned Greenpeace. EU negotiators meeting in Brussels agreed to widen proposed loopholes to please makers of...

New ETS plan puts burden on European taxpayers instead of polluting industry

Press release | June 19, 2013 at 14:38

Brussels – A new plan to patch up Europe’s ailing carbon market endorsed by the European Parliament’s environment committee today will fall short of restoring an effective system to encourage clean investments and lower carbon emissions, warned...

New report finds failing EU carbon market threatens effectiveness of 2030 climate...

Press release | June 11, 2013 at 8:00

Brussels – The EU will need to make an extra seven per cent saving to its carbon emissions as part of the 2030 climate action due to the failure of the its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), according to a new report by consultancy group Ecofys.

Ecofys Report: The next step in Europe’s climate action: setting targets for 2030

Publication | June 11, 2013 at 0:00

Policy report commissioned by Greenpeace EU

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