The European Parliament today adopted a report on EU climate change policy to 2050, based on the European Commission's 'Low Carbon Roadmap'. The Greens welcomed the endorsement of the roadmap, which calls on the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. The Greens also welcomed the call by MEPs to 'retire' EU emissions permits (2), with a view to tackling problems with the EU's emissions trading scheme but the group regretted the failure to call for the EU to step up to a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020. After the vote, Green climate spokesperson Bas Eickhout said:
"EU climate policy is off track and we need to urgently address the problems with the EU's short-term 2020 climate goals if we are to have any chance of achieving what is necessary in the long term to avoid dangerous climate change (1). Today’s vote has gone confirmed the importance of both long term and short term actions.
"The EU's flagship climate change policy, the emissions trading scheme, is clearly faltering. The current low carbon price is failing to provide an incentive to businesses to invest in technologies that actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We welcome that MEPs have recognised this by again calling on the Commission to propose eliminating some of the glut of emissions permits that is depressing the carbon price and causing the ETS to malfunction (2).
"It is frustrating that conservative and centre-right MEPs continue to keep their heads in the sand with regard to climate policy. It is clear that the EU's current 20% emissions target for 2020 is completely obsolete and that the EU needs to deliver on its pledges and step up to a 30% reduction target. It is holding Europe back, undermining the EU's emissions trading scheme, and acting as a barrier to proactive emissions reductions efforts and investments in green technologies, and hence job creation. Analysis by the European Commission, published yesterday (3), has made clear that the costs of achieving a 30% target would be much lower than previously though. This, combined with the economic benefits, underlines the need to step up the emissions target as soon as possible."
(1) Science recommends greenhouse gas cuts of up to 95% by 2050 in Europe if we are to play our part in avoiding dangerous climate change.
(2) The environment committee approved an amendment calling for a significant amount of EU emissions allowances to be set aside and eliminated, with a view to tackling the over-supply of emissions permits that is depressing the carbon price.
(3) Study available at the following url: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/package/docs/staff_working_doc_2012_en.pdf