EU’s climate change scheme is a disappointment

The European Union presented last week its climate change mitigation and energy plan, and I am somehow disappointed by it.

The final plan states a measure to decrease by a mere 20 percent greenhouse gases emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

This is in total contradiction with what was mentioned in Bail (minimum of 25 percent of reduction) and what was proposed by the EU last year.

The EU wants to be the leader in the fight against man-made climate change, but with such positions, it won’t do any good. As the chairman of the IPCC, Mr. Rajendra Pachauri, stated the EU climate plan was “not up to expectations.” (source AFP)

The thing that worries me the most is that this group of countries can go well over its Kyoto targets. I was mentioning this in a previous article where the figure of 11.4 percent of reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) was mentioned, a real improvement over the original 5,8 percent of decrease of greenhouse gases emissions.

The 15 first members of the EU have the necessary means to achieve these goals and could help the 10 new members in doing so. Energy efficiency in housing and transport alone could bring tremendous cuts of greenhouse gases emissions.

Changing lightning habits throughout Europe could also decrease in an important way our energy consumption and thus our greenhouse gases emissions.

As the WWF states :

(…) Europe should have been more determined and aim at a 30 per cent reduction, in line with the European Council decisions of March 2007 – which included the option to achieve 30 per cent if other industrialised countries engaged on climate change too.

A higher target is also essential to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

The conservation organization says that, as a global leader on climate change, the European Union should be planning for success, not for failure, of international negotiations to cut climate pollution.

The 20 per cent target is not even in line with the latest Bali agreement – that developed countries should cut emissions by 25 to 40 per cent by 2020. Drastic improvements of proposed measures are therefore needed by the European Parliament and Council.

“The European Commission presented a relatively weak proposal and not a single European country supported more ambitious targets,” says Dr Stephan Singer, Head of European Climate and Energy Unit at WWF.

“As the European Union has already reduced its emissions by about 10 per cent since 1990, the 20 per cent target is much softer than it apparently looks.

Overall, it is a very small effort to cope with a threat that might lead to Arctic melting and displacement of millions of people in developing countries because of increased floods.”

Let’s hope that this mistake will be corrected quickly and that the 20 percent will be replaced with decreases by a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 40 percent of GHG emissions.

Our common future depends on that and we already have all the necessary means to achieve those goals. Now remain the question to know if the political leadership will follow…

Be sure that I will keep you posted on this issue and many others as news arise, so, stay tuned and don’t hesitate to leave your opinion on this topic and write a comment as I will gladly read you.

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