EU funding: Climate package: are we sharing the cuts in emissions?

 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for strengthening Community environment policy and legislation, with a view to promoting sustainable development in the EU

Last year EU leaders agreed to cut CO2 emissions by a fifth by 2020 in a bid to tackle climate change.

Emerging global agreements could up that figure to a 30% cut. Earlier this year the European Commission unveiled legislation that would allow these steps to be taken. The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme is at the heart of these efforts although keys areas like transport and buildings are not covered. Deals based on solidarity between States will be how CO2 cuts are agreed for these areas.
Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi is vice-chair of the Environment Committee and parliament’s rapporteur for the “Effort Sharing Decision” to reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. “Effort Sharing” covers areas not covered by the EU’s emission trading scheme such as transport, buildings, services, agriculture and waste. Between 2013 and 2020 they will make up about half of all emissions.

Ms Hassi wants emissions in these sectors capped - and that includes transport by ship which is not covered by the Kyoto agreement. At their last plenary session in Strasbourg MEPs voted to include aircraft in the trading scheme in 2012.

“Falls short of what is needed”

Ms Hassi believes that the proposals put forward by the Commission are not ambitious enough. She told us they: “fall short of what is needed in order to keep global warming below the 2°C limit. Reductions of 30% compared with 1990 level would be in the range given by the UN’s climate change panel. But the Commission proposes 30% reduction only as a part of an international agreement, and doing part of this via offsetting.”

She would like industrialised countries to aim for targets of 80% reductions by the middle of the century. This is higher than the 25%-40% cuts scientists believe are necessary to contain temperature rises at 2°C.

There is already discord among EU states as to the level that they should be starting at. At present 2005 is given as the reference year so countries would have to make cuts appropriate to their emissions based on 2005. However, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia all believe it does not reflect their efforts to restructure post-Communist economies based on heavy industries. They have put forward a target of an 18% cut in emissions.

How can we reduce emissions?

The “offsetting” of emissions by reducing them outside the EU is one way proposed by the European Commission. It wants 3% of emissions not covered by the trading scheme to be offset. Ms Hassi opposes the use of credits as it would not achieve the 24-40% cuts she believes are necessary.

For countries outside the EU she believes that separate emissions reductions target should be agreed and that Europe should use its technological know-how to help. The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change says that developing countries need to reduce their emissions by 15-30% compared to business as usual.

The Commission has proposed that countries can reduce their emissions (those not included in the trading scheme) until 2020. Countries can either borrow or carry over their emissions limit to the next year depending on progress.

The Hassi report will be voted on by the Environment Committee in October, the plenary will consider it in December.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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