Europe needs new emission target

EUROPE SHOULD set a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% on 1990 levels by 2020 in order to demonstrate political leadership in the run up to UN climate talks in 2015.



That is the verdict of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, which July 25, published a report looking at the future of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.


The UN talks in three years’ time have been earmarked as a possible opportunity for political agreement on a new international agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol.


The Committee said the EU’s current target of 20% cuts by 2020 is “no longer sufficiently ambitious or changing and will be easily reached because of the recession”.


Chairman Tim Yeo MP, explained: “Europe can be proud of the leadership it has showed on climate change: introducing the world’s first emissions trading scheme and keeping the Kyoto Protocol alive when it could have collapsed. It must now show leadership again by setting a more ambitious goal to bolster the chances of a new agreement being reached in 2015.”


The Kyoto Protocol created an invaluable architecture for future agreements – including common emissions reporting, accounting standards and a compliance system – but it should not be renewed after its second commitment period finishes in 2020, according to the MPs. Instead, diplomatic efforts should now be focused on reaching a new, and genuinely international, agreement via the promising Platform negotiated last year in Doha.


The report points out that the global political situation could be favourable to reaching an agreement in 2015, as China will be thinking about its next five year plan and the US could be in a position to introduce measures in Congress. Europe’s influence over future international negotiations would be greatly increased if its own economy was decarbonised more rapidly – and the MPs are calling on the UK Government to argue strongly for this at an EU level.


The Committee also urged Government to support moves to eliminate the $400 billion of fossil fuel subsidies across the world, while ensuring that this is done in a way that does not worsen fuel poverty. Energy efficiency should be prioritised as a mitigation strategy as it is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut emissions. The Government should also show leadership by acknowledging that consumption in the UK and some other developed countries is driving up territorial emissions elsewhere.