Despite considerable opposition by some governments, EU leaders agreed three targets for carbon emission reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency for 2030 in the early hours of this morning.
But according to Greenpeace, these targets are too low and will slow down efforts to boost renewable energy while keeping Europe hooked on polluting and expensive fuels.
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WWF called the framework a ‘missed opportunity’ to build a better future for European citizens, ignoring the significant gains that greater ambition would yield. By slowing down the pace of EU action, WWF said, the Council has also aimed well below what is expected of Europe internationally.
‘The global fight against climate change needs radical shock treatment, but what the EU is offering is at best a whiff of smelling salts. People across Europe want cleaner energy, but EU leaders are knocking the wind out of Europe’s booming renewables sector. Europe can and should do more to stop the most devastating impacts of climate change.
‘Next year, the new European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, is expected to table legislation which will make these targets a reality in EU countries. This legislation will have a profound impact on energy bills, energy security and efforts to cut emissions across Europe.’
Mahi Sideridou, Greenpeace EU managing director
‘New Commission president Juncker and his team have said they want to make Europe a leader in renewable energy. They now need to table watertight climate and energy legislation. Importantly, these new laws must stop giving dirty energy companies and polluting industries a free ride’, said Mahi Sideridou, Greenpeace EU managing director.
Increasing the targets
EU leaders said they may upgrade their carbon target under an international climate agreement at the Paris conference in 2015, and Greenpeace has urged them to increase their ambition.
‘European leaders are sacrificing our futures on the altar of politics. Today’s result seems designed keep vested interests from the old economy happy, at the cost of the wellbeing of citizens and forward-looking industries. Big polluters will be pleased since they may escape a meaningful pollution price signal for at least another decade.
‘These renewable energy and efficiency targets are near or even below business as usual trends. The carbon market that will remain irrelevant for a decade and there’s nothing here to reign in coal power. Europe’s early efforts to combat climate change and advance clean energy have been set adrift by Council.
‘The coming months will be crucial to avoid the worst implications of this decision. The EU will need to revise its target upwards, as it is asking other countries in the UN to do. Those Member States who see the benefits of climate action will try to fill the void with domestic policy, but action will be fractured, and an EU policy response will be necessary.’
Jason Anderson, Head of EU climate and energy policy at WWF European Policy Office