MEPs highly critical of new EU climate and energy targets

EU leaders have agreed on new climate and energy targets for 2030, but MEPs haved voiced concerns that these goals are insufficient.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

27 Oct 2014

European heads of state and government have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 and have also committed to increasing energy efficiency and renewables by at least 27 per cent.

However, the energy efficiency target is not binding at national or EU level, and the renewables target is only binding at EU level. The European council stressed that this agreement is flexible, and could still be amended ahead of crucial UN climate talks due to take place in Paris at the end of 2015 (COP21).

MEPs were generally disappointed with the outcome of the negotiations. In February, they voted in favour of much higher binding targets of 40 per cent for energy efficiency and 30 per cent for renewables by 2030.

"This is not only damaging for our climate, it is also harming Europe's credibility in international climate debates" - Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy

Philippe Lamberts, co-president of the Greens/EFA group, sees this new climate package as a "mess" and said that parliament "must now work with the incoming European commission to try and salvage [it]".

He commented further on the 27 per cent target for renewables, calling it "a major step back […] which will hit jobs and the economy".
 

Lamberts added that this new deal "is a terrible signal to send at a critical juncture for global climate change action, coming just one year out from the crucial COP21".

"We will work in the parliament for more ambitious goals and we expect the Juncker commission to prove by action that sustainability is, in fact, a priority" - Kathleen Van Brempt

Gabi Zimmer, president of parliament's GUE/NGL group, said that "the results of the negotiations show that another chance for an ambitious climate protection package has been lost".

Viewing these efforts as insufficient, she called upon EU heads of state "to commit themselves by 2030 to at least 50 per cent less greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and to 80 per cent by 2050".

Representatives for the S&D group were somewhat less critical, and expressed relief that a deal had been reached ahead of COP21.

Describing this result as "a starting point", group president Gianni Pittella said that "there is still time to agree on more ambitious targets along the way".

Kathleen Van Brempt, an S&D vice-president, lamented that "the deal [has] watered down an already conservative stance taken by […] parliament". She explained that her group initially wanted "a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions as compared to 1990 levels, […] 45 per cent renewables and 30 per cent energy efficiency".

In light of the new climate package deal, Van Brempt stressed that S&D "will work in the parliament for more ambitious goals and [expects] the Juncker commission to prove by action that sustainability is, in fact, a priority".

ALDE group president Guy Verhofstadt was also critical, describing the deal as "weak" and accusing member states of putting "short term national priorities ahead of the European interest".

Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, the ALDE coordinator on parliament's environment, public health and food safety committee, warned that the new agreement "is not only damaging for our climate, it is also harming Europe's credibility in international climate debates".

He was especially disappointed that the national targets would not be binding, claiming that this "will lead to more uncertainty for innovative business and will delay the necessary investments in renewable energy".

Frederick Federley, ALDE's coordinator on parliament's industry, research and energy committee, was equally critical of this new set of targets, describing the situation as "a dark day for Europe's climate policies".

 

Read the most recent articles written by Julie Levy-Abegnoli - MEPs vote against beginning negotiations on updating EU copyright laws

Share this page