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

 

Activists protesting at EU summit released from police custody

Press release | June 27, 2014 at 16:07

Brussels – Thirty-five Greenpeace activists who took part in a protest against EU energy policies at an EU summit in Brussels this morning are being released by police after being held in custody for several hours. The climbers from six European...

Activists blame role of energy companies in EU’s ‘dangerous driving’ on energy security

Press release | June 27, 2014 at 8:48

Brussels – In a daring action during a summit of Europe’s most powerful political leaders in Brussels, activists have blamed Europe’s largest energy companies for fuelling the EU’s dependence on energy imports. Draft EU plans on energy would play...

Will EU leaders pick a winner… for energy security?

Press release | June 25, 2014 at 9:37

Brussels – As EU leaders consider measures to improve Europe’s energy security at a summit in Brussels, a new report has exposed European Commission plans as woefully inadequate to cut reliance on energy imports, said Greenpeace. The report...

EU energy ministers warm to 2030 efficiency target

Press release | June 13, 2014 at 13:30

Luxembourg/Brussels – Discussions between European energy ministers today in Luxembourg have revealed growing support for energy efficiency, said Greenpeace.

G7: no breakthrough on energy independence

Press release | June 5, 2014 at 15:05

Brussels – A meeting of the G7 ends today in Brussels with no breakthrough on the burning issue of energy independence. The leaders of the world’s most industrialised nations were grappling with the effects of the Ukraine crisis on European security.

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