Brussels’ 2030 Climate Targets Disappointing for Environmentalists

Written by | Friday, January 24th, 2014

Environmentalists are disappointed at the final version of the EU’s 2030 climate change targets under which EU member states will have to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The countries will now be also obliged to ensure that almost a third of all the energy sources are renewable. By contrast, the old 2020 package set the CO2 reduction target of 20 percent compared to 1990 levels as well as renewables accounting for about 20 percent of the energy mix.
The EU Commission has also published the so-called “minimum principles” for drilling shale gas using the method of “fracking”, a procedure that proved to be rather controversial and was condemned by green activists as harmful to the environment. Jose Manuel Barroso, the boss of the EU Commission, said that the 2030 environmental package is good and it would help shift Europe towards a low-carbon economy and ensure that the continent would not miss the train in competitiveness, though many critics think it will.
Mr Barosso said that the climate action is crucial to the future of the Earth just as it is essential for Europe’s competitiveness. In his opinion, the new climate package is a proof that both objectives are not mutually exclusive and can be in fact be reached at the same time.
Environmental activists such as Greenpeace condemn the 2030 targets as a “sell-out”, which will distract attention and investment away from renewables. The advocacy says that this will result in fewer green jobs, more costly fossil fuels, and shorter lives due to pollution. Moreover, in its view, 40 percent CO2 target is not sufficient for the block to bring about its fair share of the world’s emission reduction which is so crucial for keeping sea levels tamed. Greenpeace has also argued that it would probably be more efficient to repair Europe’s market for trading emissions rather than setting the 2030 targets to only 33 percent.

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