Tougher targets and measures to cut carbon emissions will not be adopted by the European Commission, even though it will be more cost efficient in the long term.
The European Commission is expected to release its plans in a road map on climate change and energy policy. The European Union is currently expected to meet two of its three main targets with regards to emissions. Europe is on target to cut its emissions by 20% from its 1990’s levels and deliver 20% of its energy levels from renewable energy resources. However, it is not expected to meet its third objective of increasing its energy efficiency by 20%.
The Commissions own analysis has suggested that a reduction in emissions by 25% could be easily achieved and that this would be more economical in the long term. However, the policies which will be unveiled on Tuesday are expected to recommend sticking to the original target of 20%. The Commission is also expected to recommend achieving some of the 20% target by buying up credits on emissions from overseas countries that have spare emission credits to sell, rather than solely achieving the targets within the EU.
Many environmental groups believe that this is due to strong lobbying on the part of large industries. Environmental groups believe that with the downturn in the economy a 40% target should be the new objective that the European Commission is aiming for in relation to cutting harmful emissions.
“Yet again it seems the scaremongering tactics of a handful of well connected industrial lobbyists have successfully castrated Europe’s climate ambitions,” Baroness (Bryony) Worthington who is the director of the environmental campaign organization Sandbag told BBC News.
“The smokestack industries of Europe are wrong when they claim that the only way to meet our targets is through de-industrialization; investing in new clean energy technologies will actually boost economic activity,” she said.
They also fail to mention that many of them are handsomely profiting from the sale of spare emissions permits which leave them largely untouched by requirements to reduce emissions,” Worthington added.
The two main leaders on climate change and energy efficiency within the European Commission appear to have different opinions on the issue. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard suggested that cutting emissions at this time would prove to be economically viable for the EU. However, Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has stated that if the EU was to cut emissions above the 20% target this would lead to a collapse of European industries and that they would find it difficult to compete in the global market.
Yet, a small group of industries have sided with Hedegaard and believe it would be beneficial to target a 25% reduction in emissions. “As leaders of utility companies we know that the benefits of early action far outweigh the costs of inertia or delayed action. Private investors take their signals from such target and this will deliver more new jobs in innovative environmental and clean technologies and will secure competitive advantage within the borders of the EU,” they said.
Article by Ciaran Hogg, appearing courtesy Justmeans.