That Was Then, This is Now… EU (In)Action on the Road to Durban

7 June 2011

Do you remember almost three years ago when the EU adopted its climate and energy package it also promised that it would upgrade its weak ‘business as usual’ 20% target to 30% if other countries took comparable action? (ECO reminds the EU and other Parties that at least 40% is needed,  three quarters of which should be achieved solely through domestic action en route to near-complete decarbonization by 2050). At the time, the EU was considered to be the global leader on climate action being the first industrialized country bloc to come forward independently with a deeper emissions cut proposal. Time passed but the EU is left standing still. If the EU took a look around, it would realize it is 2011 and other countries are taking action. Many are going even further than the EU in their proposed cuts, so why is the EU not fulfilling its promise? The move to a 30% carbon emission reduction target for the EU is now easier than ever. Practically speaking, in 2009 the EU’s emissions were already 17,3% below 1990 levels. Economically speaking, an upgraded target would increase auctioning revenues to Member States’ budget, it would boost innovation, create jobs, increase the EU’s energy security and reduce the costs of fuel and air pollution related expenses. Politically, simply implementing the EU’s already agreed energy efficiency target would take the EU’s domestic emission reductions to -25% below 1990 by 2020. At the dying embers of the Copenhagen talks, the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso was asked about the 30% and he made an ‘off the cuff’ retort: “no one was interested in this offer,” he said. Are there parties willing to prove him wrong and hold the EU to their promises?

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