EU heads of state step in right direction on carbon targets, says Christian Aid

By agency reporter
October 27, 2014

Christian Aid has welcomed a new EU package of climate and energy targets agreed at a Brussels heads of state meeting on 24 October, saying the decision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by "at least" 40 per cent by 2030 was "a good start".

It warned, however, that further cuts will be needed if global temperature rises are to be kept below 2ºC – the point beyond which scientists predict climate chaos.

Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s senior adviser on climate change, described the agreed emissions reduction (below 1990 levels) as a promising first move towards a global climate deal to be agreed next year.

But she added: “The important words in the agreement are ‘at least’, as ideally the EU will need to ratchet up its target as global negotiations move forward. Forty per cent is the bare minimum if EU states are to play a full role in keeping the global temperature rise down.

“It is essential now that all EU countries refocus their energy strategies away from the burning of fossil fuels towards sustainable and renewable sources such as solar, wind and tide. If the energy strategies don’t change, then even that target will not be met.

“It is encouraging that countries which continue to depend on coal power, such as Poland, were not able to reduce the target as they had threatened, although concessions were made to keep them on board,” added Dr Doig.

“The UK, together with France, Germany and Sweden each played a significant part in holding the line. The EU needs to be ahead of the curve on developing and implementing clean, modern energy if it is to be a global market leader.”

Agreeements were also reached that the EU would source 27 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030, together with a 27 per cent target of energy efficiency improvements over the same period.

The EU package, Dr Doig hoped, will help smooth the path of the latest round of global negotiations at the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru next month. That summit in turn needs to make real progress if a deal is to be reached at the final round of negotiations in Paris in a year’s time.

“Distrust between rich and poor countries has dogged negotiations over a global deal in recent years, with developing countries demanding that states that have grown rich through polluting face up to their responsibility for causing much of the problem in the first place,” said Dr Doig.

“Richer countries must show they are prepared to play a major role in tackling global warming if talks are to succeed.”

[Ekk/4]

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