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EU2030 climate decision puts polluters’ interests first

news release

Reacting to new EU targets for tackling climate change agreed last night, Asad Rehman, international climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:  “David Cameron has written himself into history alongside Canadian PM Stephen Harper and Australian leader Tony Abbott as the men who were willing to turn their backs on climate science, on the demands of their people and on the everyday reality of devastating climate impacts.

“This decision has put the interests of polluters ahead of the interests of people and the planet. Cameron may attempt to spin this backward step on climate as progress but it has effectively shut the door on limiting temperature rises to 2c and that will have devastating consequences for the poorest countries in the world.

“This decision is bad for jobs, the economy and people’s needs. The only winners will be the dirty energy corporations who have panicked Cameron into giving them a fat cheque and a renewed license to pollute.”


Notes to editors

1. The UK government convinced other big polluting countries to back their proposal of only a binding but weak emissions target and non-binding weak targets on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

2. The greenhouse target of 40% is a 27% domestic emissions target in real terms (once surplus hot air credits from the discredited Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are included). The EU has already reached a target of 20% cuts by 2012. For the next 18 years EU emissions cuts will slow down to a crawl.

The EU (28) GHG target in 2020 is 20% on 1990 levels.

According to the EU’s own statistics the EU was at 19.2% in 2012 on 1990 levels – which means that the 2020 target will have been met with 8 years still to go.

In million tonnes of CO2 that means

  • In 1990 the EU was emitting 5626 MTCO2 pollutants
  • In 2012 the EU was emitting 4544 MTCO2 pollutants

…with a legally binding target for 2020 target of 4500 MTCO2 emissions.

The 40% target in 2030 being proposed by the UK Govt at the EU Council meeting would mean that in 2030 the EU would be emitting 3375 MTCO2 pollutants.

However the ETS surplus credits which are handed out as free permits to pollute could add in a worst case scenario an additional right to emit 1350 MTCO2 emissions putting the EU at 4725 MTCO2. Please see chart here.

That target of  4725 MTCO2 would be higher than emissions target for 2020 by 225 MTCO2.

In essence that means that the EU will need to take no action between 2012 to 2020. And then between 2020 and 2030 the EU 40% target could mean for the ten years between 2020 and 2030 the EU will have no actual reductions of GHG but could instead current emissions increase by 5%.

According to the GDR/Equity calculator and FoE EWNI’s fairshares website:

  • a fair share of global effort would mean that the EU would need to be at negative 3800 MTCO2 by 2030

Since the EU could no longer deliver all its emissions domestically it would need to help finance actions outside of the EU as part of its mitigation effort. According to FoE EWNI’s statistics this would be a domestic emissions target and an international finance target.

The EU should be at 1462 MTCO2 emissions – which is –74% domestic arget for 2030 on 1990 levels and $345 billion in climate finance transfers.

3. An analysis by Friends of the Earth of the UK’s approach to the Paris COP in 2015 is available here.

4. The UK also lobbied heavily for a non binding and weak 27% renewable energy target – this represents barely more than business-as–usual and will send a dangerous signal to UK investors that the EU renewables policy is being abandoned.

5. The UK was also responsible for a non binding 27% energy efficiency target – which fails to meet even the EU’s own very conservative analysis which showed higher targets delivered a huge boost for jobs, the economy and energy security.

6. Climate Scientist Kevin Anderson sent an open letter to David Cameron about the inadequacy of the EU targets.

7. The IPCC Vice Chair EU has stated that these targets will fail to protect the climate.

8. Friends of the Earth is campaigning to reduce the use of polluting fossil fuels by increasing the use of solar power on schools and to prevent their extraction through fracking in the UK.

For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust

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