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

 

Commission releases garbled energy union plan

Press release | February 25, 2015 at 11:30

Brussels – The European Commission has released a patchwork of policies as its plan for a European energy union, said Greenpeace.

Putting climate action at the heart of the European energy union

Publication | February 20, 2015 at 11:58

On 25 February the European Commission is expected to release its plan for a European energy union. This non-legislative document will set out the Commission’s proposed priorities for EU energy and climate policy over the next two years.

Nous sommes tous Charlie

Blog entry by Jean-François Julliard | January 8, 2015

Greenpeace extends its sincerest condolences to the families of the victims of yesterday's heinous attack on the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in Paris. Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were fervent advocates of democracy...

NGOs contest €39bn in free carbon emission allowances for industry

Publication | December 10, 2014 at 10:30

A coalition of leading environmental organisations has filed a request for an internal review with the European Commission, contesting the legality of its recent decision to continue granting free carbon emission allowances to industries under...

Four reasons to be optimistic despite modest EU climate goals

Blog entry by Joris den Blanken | October 30, 2014

Last week, the EU agreed its 2030 targets for emission cuts, energy savings and clean energy. Greenpeace has been clear in its assessment : the level of emission cuts is inadequate, and the deal risks slowing down Europe’s clean...

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