Call for an EU 25 Percent Emissions Reduction Target

A CALL for the EU to reduce its emission reduction target to 25 percent, five percent more than currently set, through such measures as energy efficiency has been made.

The European Economic and Social Committee in an opinion on the European Commission's roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 have called for the European Union (EU) to reconsider a 25 percent emission reduction target by 2020, in order to achieve the agreed goal of an 80-95 percent drop by 2050.

These goals should be supplemented by indicative targets for a 40 percent reduction by 2030 and 60 percent by 2040 and go hand in hand with binding EU policies that are able to deliver them. Only ambitious medium-term goals will make it possible for the EU to achieve an 80-95 percent reduction by 2050, said the EESC. "Moreover, clarity on long-term goals gives stability to investors and decision-makers", said Josef Zboril of the Employers' Group, Czech Republic, rapporteur of the opinion.

Achieving these objectives would cost roughly EUR 270 billion annually for the next 40 years and will not be possible without substantial commitment from business. This is why the Committee called for the Commission to do more to woo businesses into investing in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies. The Committee recommends a wide-ranging review of the ETS – the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme – which allows for the trading of greenhouse gas emission allowances on the international market, whose revenues should be earmarked to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.

This transition will also need a "technology push", this will require a pro-active industrial policy and co-ordinated research and development policies, said the EESC. Decisive action is needed in areas such as power generation, where nearly 100 percent of electricity is expected to come from low-carbon technologies by 2050, and transport, where it is vital to accelerate the drive towards ever greater fuel-efficiency and the development of electric cars and more efficient public transport. Construction and agriculture are other areas where there is considerable room for improvement, says the opinion.

However, the role of technology in curbing climate change should not be overestimated, cautioned Richard Adams of the Various Interests Group, United Kingdom, co-rapporteur of the opinion. "Lifestyle changes are equally important as aware consumers can put pressure on businesses to produce low-carbon goods and services", he added.

Picture of the European Union by Motiqua reproduced under CCL.

Tuesday 27th September 2011


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