Pressure is building on the European Union to beef up its climate ambition following the release of the EU Commission’s proposals for climate and energy policies to 2030.
Yesterday’s proposal called for a binding emissions reduction target of 40% by 2030 over 1990 levels -along with a 27% renewable energy goal. EU President José Barroso took this proposal to the World Economic Forum today where it was welcomed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as “ transformational”.
But others felt quite differently. Yesterday’s announcement was labelled “disappointing” by negotiators from the Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Islands States who warned the EU has “a lot of work to do” to “raise their ambitions” ahead of the 2015 deadline for a new global climate treaty.
The lack of ambition demonstrated in the EU’s 2030 policy framework is disappointing. If this is accepted as a starting point for tackling the climate crisis then we certainly have a lot of work to do to ensure the world reaches an agreement by 2015 that is commensurate with the scale of the challenge we face.
They joined a chorus of NGOs and progressive businesses in calling for the EU’s 28 Member States to strengthen the targets when they discuss the policies in March.
Quamrul Chowdhury, Bangladesh’s lead negotiator at the UN climate talks said:
LDCs have expected from EU much steeper targets like 45% by 2020 and 65% by 2030 from 1990 level. EU and other industrialised countries should now make more efforts to raise their ambitions to help reach a new legally binding, robust, fair and equitable climate pact in Paris in 2015.
Because the EU Commission is first out of the gate with their pledges and is normally considered the pacesetters on the international stage, commentators are concerned the EU is at “risk of setting a very low bar” and failing to provide the needed momentum in the global climate arena.
Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists said:
[EU leaders] risk setting a very low bar…That in turn will lead to a post-2020 agreement in Paris next year that will be totally insufficient.
Scientists and green groups also say they will fail to meet Europe’s fair share of the emissions reductions needed to avoid dangerous climate change.