Environmentalists criticise new EU climate goals

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Environmentalists criticise new EU climate goals

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The European Commission has unveiled new climate goals for 2030 amid criticism from green groups.

The EU’s executive arm revised targets set for 2020 after industry said they were hampering Europe’s competitiveness.

The proposals aim to cut the EU’s CO2 emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels.

Renewable energy should amount to 27 percent of the EU’s energy mix.

But there are no individual targets for member states.

Environmental campaigners say the targets are simply not ambitious enough.

“The EC is backtracking on 15 years of investments in the EU in clean energy, that delivered jobs and made our economy less dependent on fossil fuels,” said Joris Den Blanken of Greenpeace.

The Commission did not put forward any EU-wide regulations on shale gas, leaving it to individual member states to decide on their own policy.

Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action:

“We can not afford to say no to any potential good technology. But what is important is, if we do it, if we go for it in this place or that place, go for it in a environmental safe way.”

Proponents of shale gas say it will drive down energy costs for industry, but there are other ways to tackle the competitiveness issues, said Christian Egenhofer, a researcher on climate and energy at CEPS

“The best way to address the competitiveness issue is by efficiency, not only energy efficiency, but also resource efficiency and this new package is a first start for this.”

EU leaders will review the proposals in March.
They come ahead a 2015 UN summit that seeks a new global agreement on climate change.