EU governments delayed making any decision on a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions until October, as they met to discuss the bloc’s 2030 climate and energy package in Brussels today.
Council president Herman van Rompuy insisted the EU was “not giving up on climate change” and that its package would be in line with “long-term objectives for 2050”.
But this is far too little for those calling for immediate deep cuts to emissions in line with the scientific and economic evidence.
Campaigners were “shocked” by the failure of leaders “to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis”, and continuing to put dirty industry interests ahead of citizens and the planet.
Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network Europe said:
It is beyond belief that the EU has delayed a decision on urgent climate action. After all, discussions have been ongoing for months already while climate impacts continue to mount across Europe. With freak weather events already creating massive economic fallout and disrupting lives all over Europe, our leaders need to pick up the pace on climate action, not kick decisions down the road. After the worst pollution in decades gripped several EU capitals earlier this month, our leaders should be pushing harder than ever for quick climate action and the health benefits it would bring to Europeans.
The EU’s continued reluctance to make clear decisions may also undermined its global standing as vulnerable country diplomats and NGOs alike warn it could create a negative dynamic in international climate negotiations.
They warn the decision will also continue to make the EU “increasingly irrelevant” in shaping such discussions.
Nick Mabey, E3G Chief Executive said:
It is clear that European Leaders will eventually agree the proposed 40% domestic greenhouse gas reduction target. Delaying a decision from June to October means the EU risks becoming increasingly irrelevant in shaping international climate negotiations. The Ukraine crisis has concentrated Leaders’ minds on the benefits of European cooperation. The unexpectedly strong “energy solidarity” clause to reduce gas import dependence will drive more investment in energy efficiency, EU grids and renewables. This will increase security, be good for the climate and support future competitiveness.
One positive spot on an otherwise cloudy horizon was the decision by Vattenfall to leave the Magritte group, which has campaigned for policy-makers to focus on a single emissions target rather than also targets for renewables and energy efficiency.