EU study says -30% within reach… but how much will it grasp?

31 May 2010

Go Europe! It’s been a while since the EU came up with anything new on the climate front, so ECO is delighted to reveal that the Commission published a paper just last week, demonstrating unequivocally that a -30% target (from 1990 levels) is not only possible, but easily possible for Europe. All the same, the paper doesn’t go anywhere as far as is achievable.  The -40% target, which would finally push the agenda toward real ambition, has not even been analyzed (for shame!).  And the -30% target is based on the assumption that a mere 50-50 chance of staying below a rather uncomfortably balmy 2º C increase is adequate — but let’s not quibble too much. At least the EU, unlike, say, Canada, is looking at the option of increasing its pledge, and that is progress. Even though the Commission's economic analysis does not take into account all additional benefits, it is still very clear that there is no reason at all why the EU cannot increase its pledge. Even better, it should agree that the -30% should be done completely through domestic action, so that it is on its way to becoming a near-zero carbon society by 2050. The Commission’s paper provides the facts on which Member States will base their decisions on whether or not to unilaterally take on the higher target. This should happen at the EU Heads of State summit in September. If you, like us, want to see the EU break away from business as usual at -20%, here are a couple items to mention to any EU delegate you pass in the hallway here in Bonn. * First, ask them to ensure that every European Head of State reads the Commission analysis. The figures in the paper show that there is no real impediment, financial or otherwise, to a unilateral EU move to -30%. * Second, since the most recent data show current emissions already at 14% below 1990 levels, the EU is already halfway to reaching -30%. * Finally, EU international climate leadership has always had the most impact when leading from the front, as demonstrated with EU-led initiatives like the 2o C limit and fast-start finance. ECO expects EU delegates will be delighted to express their commitment to EU leadership on climate change, so don’t be shy!

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