The European Union has long been regarded as a leader on climate change. Now it appears to becoming a laggard as the EU has unveiled unambitious goals for 2030.
If in 2007 the EU led the fight on climate change with an impressive triple goal of 20 percent emissions reductions by 2020, 20 percent renewables and 20 percent increased energy efficiency (compared to 1990), the situation is not the same now.
The European Commission pledged to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2030 as well as to cover 27 percent of its energy needs by renewables.
These goals are unambitious as the EU has almost reached its 20 percent emissions reduction goals, seven years ahead of schedule as we have seen in this previous article.
In 2012, this had led a majority of European Parliament members (MEPs) to call for increased action and 30 percent cuts by 2020. The MEPs who voted for such cuts believe that cutting EU emissions by 20 percent wouldn’t be sufficient to prevent global temperatures to warm by just 2°Celsius.
The European Commission’s decision of yesterday is even more puzzling when faced to the previous decision of cutting emissions by a minimum of 80 percent by 2050.
By agreeing to 40 percent cuts by 2030 it states that between 1990 and 2030 it will cut its emissions by one percentage point per annum and that in the remaining twenty years, it would cut them by two percentage point per annum.
As Kees van der Leun, a Dutch expert on climate and energy issues, noted on his Twitter : ” EU CO2 emission reduction from -18% now to -40% by 2030 is not even 2% per year. For 2050 target (-80..95%) we need sustained 4-7% per year! “
There is ample evidence that 40 percent emissions cuts won’t be enough. An example of this is the many negative reactions the European Commission decision brought from many newspapers such as the Financial Times, consultancies such as Ecofys and NGOs.
Let’s hope the vote by the European Parliament will bring more ambition. Our climate, our economies and our jobs are at stake.