Tackling Europe’s Dispute over Greenhouse Targets

Written by | Monday, January 13th, 2014

European Union member states cannot agree on the new 2030 goals on greenhouse gas emissions. Jose Manuel Barroso, the boss of the European Commission, hopes that the commissioners will do their best to reach an agreement during the talks on January 22, though there is currently no progress in sight. The current proposal of the EU Parliament’s energy and environmental committees push for a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2030 based on 1990 levels. Moreover, they support an increase of share of renewable sources to account for a third of all energy sources while efficiency is hoped to rise by 40 percent.
EU Climate Change Commissioner, Connie Hedegaad, and Jose Manual Barroso, are allegedly fighting Guenther Oettinger, EU Energy Commissioner, who is seeking to fix CO2 by 35 percent, which has support of all the EU’s industrial organizations. The new 40 percent CO2 reduction has not been agreed on yet but Europe’s industrial associations are lobbying in Brussels for a “realistic target” in energy policy. Business Europe chief, Emma Marcegaglia, said that the new 2030 package should be in line with the urgent need for strengthening industries and restoring Europe’s competitiveness and industrial investment. She added that the EU should really give up trying to achieve three overlapping targets, which in her opinion bring about inefficiencies, lead to extra regulatory burdens and raise energy prices.
Six years ago, Brussels agreed on a 20-20-20 program to be achieved by 2020, and it is precisely this framework that is being updated with goals for 2030. Yet, many of the EU member states have reservations about different parts of the proposals being currently made, which has triggered a lot of disagreement in the block. For instance, Great Britain, Spain, and France are against increasing the target for the share of renewable energy of the entire energy mix as it could endanger their nuclear power programs. On the other side, Germany, which is currently closing down its nuclear power plants, would like to see the 30 percent renewable package become a reality.

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