Sunday, 1 March 2015


“Watering Down” EU Climate Targets Risks Undermining UN Climate DealResponding to Climate Change, 26 February 2015

Ed King

The European Commission’s latest set of proposals for a UN climate deal could “severely undermine” efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, UK climate and energy chief Ed Davey has warned.

He said the UK strongly objected to plans – released on Wednesday – that would see naturally occurring carbon sinks like forests and wetlands used to meet the EU’s emissions reduction target of 40% on 1990 levels by 2030.

In a letter to European climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, dated February 24 and seen by RTCC, Davey said Brussels’ credibility as a climate leader is under threat.

“Implying that the land-use sector is included has the potential to severely undermine ambitions, as land is a sink and could impact ambition by 1-2%,” he wrote.

“This is not insignificant and the inclusion or not of land within the -40% was very clearly not agreed in the October [2014] Council.”

A perception the EU is trying to wriggle out of its climate commitments could impact alliances with other countries in the run-up to Paris, where a UN deal is set to be agreed in December, he added. [...]

European officials released the ‘Road to Paris’, outlining the bloc’s proposed contributions for the UN pact, on Wednesday.

At the launch Canete called them “ambitious” and said they proved the EU was “leading the way”. Europe would be the first major emitter to deliver its climate pledge to the UN, he said.

But civil society observers who have closely analysed the documents issued by Brussels say they contain loopholes and ignore past decisions made by member states.

In addition to land use and the 40% target, concerns have been raised over the Commission’s claim that domestic EU commitments cannot be increased ahead of Paris.

There is also concern that the Commission has downgraded the Europe’s 2050 emissions reduction goal from 80-95% to 80%.

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