Will EU Climate Goals be Voluntary?

by | Jan 21, 2014

industrial plant emissionsThe European Commission is considering making renewable energy targets nonbinding on individual nations.

The commission will tomorrow consider a climate proposal to reduce carbon emissions limits 35 percent to 40 percent by 2030, further cutting its target of reducing 1990-level greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, Bloomberg reports. It will also consider raising the share of renewable energy as high as 27 percent. But this goal may be voluntary.

Under pressure from utilities and individual member states that argue setting mandatory renewable energy goals will further increase energy prices, some EU officials want to make the targets nonbinding, the New York Times reports.

European retail power prices have risen 65 percent and natural gas by 42 percent between 2004 and 2011 — more than double the 18 percent inflation rate — according to Reuters.

“What we must do is to keep climate policy, but we have to put at the same level cost competitiveness for energy and security of supply,” Emma Marcegaglia, president of BusinessEurope, an employers’ group representing companies from 35 EU countries, tells the news agency. “If we go for 40 percent unilaterally this would be absolutely against industrial competitiveness of Europe.”

The commission also wants to encourage fracking in the EU, Spiegel reports, and will not set strict rules for extracting shale gas. Instead, tomorrow’s proposal will only set minimum health and environmental standards.

Photo Credit: industrial plant emissions via Shutterstock



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