Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where does the European Union stand on GHG emission reductions?

Years ago, the Member States of the European Union committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20%, increasing the share of renewable energy to 20%, and increase the energy efficiency in 20% by 2020. According to the “Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050” (EU Commission, 2011), the EU is currently on track to meet the first two targets, although additional efforts are needed to achieve the energy efficiency target.

The European Union has been a champion pushing for more ambitious targets for the period after the Kyoto Protocol expires. In the UNFCCC conference in Durban, the EU voluntarily proposed to move from a 20% to a 30% reduction by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, provided that the other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities.

Previously, during contacts with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the European Commission had already reaffirmed its intention to reduce EU's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990.

However, the EU represents little more than 10% of global emissions... it will not be able to tackle climate change on its own. Additionally, while setting an example, the EU is at the same time safeguarding its position. Committing alone would bring hardships to the Member States in the future, due to disloyal market competition and even from the displacement of large emitting companies to other regions of the Globe with less stringent climate protection frameworks.

I eagerly await for the next “episodes” of the negotiation of the emission reductions between Countries for the after-Kioto Protocol (the period beyond 2012), under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Protection (UNFCCC). 

- “A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050”, European Commission, 2011;

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