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 presidency and Commission to raise issue of Greenpeace activists and journalists...

Press release | October 23, 2013 at 13:00

WHAT: The European Commission and the Lithuanian EU presidency will make a statement in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this (Wednesday) afternoon about the case of twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists and two freelance...

MEP Arctic 30 Solidarity Statement

Publication | October 23, 2013 at 12:09

The European Parliament has called the charges against the Arctic 30 "disproportionate." It called on the Council and the European Commission to "take action to ensure the release of the detainees". Over one hundred MEPs from 21 countries and...

Green10 letter on Innovation in EU

Publication | October 17, 2013 at 15:22

A letter from the Green 10 to Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

Fixing EU biofuels policy

Blog entry by Sebastien Risso & Sini Harkki | September 9, 2013

The biofuel policy of the European Union is at a crossroads. Currently, an EU law mandates the use of biofuels largely made up of food crops that, instead of reducing emissions, have been shown to increase them. In trying to extinguish...

MEPs propose measures to improve green credentials of biofuels but fail to solve food...

Press release | July 11, 2013 at 0:33

Brussels – In the face of heavy lobbying from the biofuels industry, the European Parliament’s environment committee has made encouraging recommendations to fix EU biofuels policy, but more will be required to end the food for fuel crisis, warned...

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