Six EU Member States Call For Delay Of New Climate Targets Until 2015

  • Date: 05/03/14
  • Bloomberg

Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania said in a joint statement that the EU’s 2030 carbon goal should take into account UN climate deal in 2015.

The European Union should ensure that future climate and energy policies do not undermine the competitiveness of its industry, already weakened by a price gap with the U.S., the bloc’s member states said.

Energy ministers from the EU’s 28 nations had their first debate about 2030 carbon-reduction and renewable energy strategy at their quarterly meeting in Brussels today. It followed yesterday’s gathering of environment ministers, where countries differed over how ambitious Europe’s emissions-cut target should be and how fast new policies should be adopted. The framework for the next decade will next be discussed by EU leaders at their March 20-21 summit.

“We need to make sure we combine our objectives for setting ambitious goals with increasing competitveness of the industry and safeguarding energy supply,” Greek Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis told reporters after the gathering. His country holds the EU rotating presidency through June.

The challenge for the EU is to reconcile its ambition to lead the global fight against climate change with efforts to help the economy regain steam. The bloc should tighten its greenhouse-gas reduction target to 40 per cent in 2030 compared with 20 per cent in 2020, according to a strategy outlined in January by the European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm.

Member states, industry, non-governmental organizations and lobbies are divided over the commission’s proposal. Groups including the Climate Action Network and Greenpeace call for stricter targets, while energy-intensive companies including ThyssenKrupp and Tata urge policy makers to avoid carbon costs for manufacturers prone to relocation of production abroad.

Long-term debate

“I think we will have to have a very thorough long-term debate about how we can use our state budgets to reduce part of the burden that now lies on the industry,” Germany Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the meeting today. Germany supports the 40 per cent greenhouse-gas target that would be binding on each member state and an EU-wide goal to boost the share of renewable energy to 27 per cent.

Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania said in a joint statement that the 2030 carbon goal should be set at a “realistic level” and take into account United Nations talks about a global deal to be agreed in 2015. They also said the EU emissions-trading system should remain the core tool for Europe to meets its emission-reduction goal.

“In order to reach this target cost effectively, intra-EU flexibility mechanisms -– including innovative financing schemes -– should be introduced, especially in the non-ETS sector, as an integral part of the climate and energy policy framework,” the six countries said.

Full story