Two days ahead of an EU summit bent on clinching a deal on climate change, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said he is “confident that the essentials of the Commission’s proposal will remain intact”.
Some of this already looks assured, such as: ten percent of fuel for cars and trucks coming from renewable sources, mostly biofuels, but also green electricity.
Barrroso said the overall 2020 targets are
non-negociable. These are to cut the EU’s emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 percent, compared to 1990 levels – or more, if others pitch in, and to draw 20 percent of energy from
renewable sources. A 20 percent efficiency boost is in there also.
Briefing the media before the summit starts this Thursday, Barroso said some EU countries were asking for more concessions than others: “What I’m asking for, from all the member states, is a spirit of compromise. It would be a collective defeat if we said, ‘listen, no, we’ve talked a lot about climate change but now that it comes down to it, we’re going to wait for a better time.’ That would be a defeat for us all.”
The main hurdles include Poland’s concern not to drag down its heavily-polluting coal-dependent power sector. Italy and Germany are worried the plan will push up costs for manufacturers and heavy industry, and so dent their competitive ability against less-regulated rivals. Softening the demands of the EU’s flagship emissions trading scheme, which requires industry to buy permits to pollute, is a major sticking point. Staggered starting dates and governments co-funding the price at auction are among the options. Germany and the UK are reluctant to subsidise poorer eastern European countries through a proposed solidarity fund, by kicking in ten percent of their emissions trading revenues.