Feb. 5 --The European Parliament voted Feb. 5 in favor
of the European Union's adopting binding greenhouse gas reduction, renewable
energy and energy efficiency targets for 2030, a position that puts it at odds
with the European Commission and with many EU member states.
to a nonbinding resolution approved by European Parliament lawmakers sitting
in Strasbourg, France, the EU should agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels, to achieve a 40 percent energy saving
from projected business-as-usual levels through efficiencies, and to have
renewables provide 30 percent of consumed energy, all by 2030.
resolution, which lawmakers adopted in a 341-263 vote with 26 abstentions,
confirmed a joint position taken Jan. 9 by the European Parliament's
environment and industry committees .
But since then, the European
Commission, the EU's executive arm, has published proposals under which the
28-country bloc would be bound to a 40 percent emissions cut and an overall 27
percent renewables target by 2030, but there would be no legally binding
energy efficiency target .
The Parliament is likely to lose out in the
debate on EU climate and energy objectives through 2030 because any binding
target would have to be approved by EU member state governments, some of which,
in particular Poland, are calling for less-stringent targets because of fears
that their economic growth will be harmed.
According to the Parliament resolution, the overall EU emissions,
renewables and energy efficiency goals should be broken down into
country-by-country targets that would take into account levels of wealth and
capacity to invest to achieve the targets.
By contrast, under the
commission proposal, only the emissions-reduction target would be implemented
through binding national targets. The 27 percent renewables target would be an
overall EU target with no national sub-targets, and has been criticized as
“unenforceable” by some lawmakers .
Some lawmakers and campaign groups
said the EU should reject the commission's proposal and adopt a 2030 climate
and energy strategy modeled on the European Parliament's nonbinding
Matthias Groote, a German center-left lawmaker who is
chairman of the European Parliament environment committee, said in a statement
that the adoption of the resolution showed that what the European Parliament
“considers necessary in terms of climate policy is miles away from the
short-sightedness shown by the European commission.”
Anne Delvaux, a
Belgian center-right lawmaker who sponsored the resolution, said the EU should
take on binding emissions, renewables and energy efficiency targets for 2030
as the best way to achieve a “broad energy mix with greater energy
efficiency,” which would be the “best option to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, to encourage new technologies and innovation, create jobs, and
change our economies into greener economies.”
Frederic Thoma, energy
policy adviser for Greenpeace, said that “with its call for binding targets
today, the Parliament has drawn a line in the sand to give investors the
certainty they need.”
EU member state
environment ministers are scheduled to discuss the commission's proposals March
3. EU leaders will then discuss the bloc's climate and energy policy through
2030 at a summit March 20-21.
EU targets for 2030 would build on a
current mandatory emissions cut of 20 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels,
and a goal for renewables to provide 20 percent of energy by 2020.
Raphael Sauter, a senior policy analyst with the Institute for European
Environmental Policy, told Bloomberg BNA that the European Parliament vote
“shows that at least in the Parliament the majority is in favor of continuing
the leadership role of the EU in these areas.” However, it was “rather
doubtful” that the Parliament's position would be accepted by EU member states
represented in the EU Council, Sauter said.
“Very few member states are
very outspoken in favor of a more ambitious approach,” and some countries,
including Poland, are “very opposed” to tougher climate and energy targets,
He added that the EU
should adopt binding climate, renewables and energy efficiency targets to
“keep up the momentum in these areas,” and to promote the degree of investment
needed for longer-term decarbonization of the EU economy.
Szymañski, a Polish center-right lawmaker who initially sponsored the
parliament resolution along with Delvaux but later withdrew his support, said
that the EU was making “a mistake” in discussing targets for 2030 ahead of an
international deal to tackle climate change.
A doubling of the EU's
emissions reduction target from 20 percent in 2020 to 40 percent in 2030 would
“reduce the competitiveness of European industry,” and the EU “should not show
all our cards today before our [international] partners say what they mean,” as
part of global climate negotiations, Szymañski said.
contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Gardner in Brussels at email@example.com
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responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
The European Parliament
procedure file on the resolution on the EU 2030 climate and energy framework is
available at http://bit.ly/1lEJ3pu.
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