EU climate targets under the microscope

Martina Anderson says ambitious climate targets can drive growth and tackle global warming.

By Martina Anderson MEP

17 Feb 2014

During the last Strasbourg plenary session, the European parliament endorsed recommendations for three complementary and binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Although the levels of ambition are significantly below what I believe is feasible and necessary for Europe to move towards a truly low-carbon economy it is still a significant step forward. [pullquote]The commission’s anaemic proposals, announced in January, have no binding national targets for member states and are woefully inadequate[/pullquote]. MEPs have now sent out a message that much stronger climate action is required.

Without binding targets for renewable energy, Europe runs a very real risk of losing its position as a global leader in renewable technology. Indeed, the commission’s own 2030 impact assessment found that a renewable energy target of 30 per cent would create 568,000 more jobs and work towards carbon emissions reductions, vital if we are to keep global warming under 2°C.

Without a target, we would be leaving room for certain member states to give the go-ahead to false solutions such as shale gas or nuclear. There is a serious risk of lock-in for decades to come with these energy sources.

The EU is also putting its leadership role in international climate negotiations in jeopardy. I hope a wake-up call has been sent to the commission and the council, especially ahead of the March meeting of energy and environment ministers, that decisive, ambitious and robust climate actions must be taken and that three binding targets is the most effective way of doing so.

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Energy & Climate
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