Europe to examine case for bigger CO2 cuts

11.5.2010 (BBC)

By Roger Harrabin, Environment Analyst

Europe’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard is to set out the case for a unilateral
30% EU cut in CO2.

At the end of May she will unveil research examining the consequences to Europe’s
economy of outdoing the current 20% target.

She said no position had been taken by Europe on a new unilateral target.

But she warned the fall in CO2 during the recession meant a 20% cut would not
drive the clean energy innovation Europe needed.

She said China was investing almost 10 times as much as the EU in plans for a
low-carbon economy.

“Europe risks being left behind,” she said at a lecture in London organised by
the International Institute for Environment and Development.

She said that due to the recession, it is now a third cheaper to achieve the
20% target than when it was agreed in 2007.

“For an extra 11bn Euros on the sum originally proposed, the EU can now make
a 30% CO2 cut,” she said. Her paper will examine the costs and benefits of such
a proposal.

“She said it would include benefits like cleaning up local air pollution and
energy security – and, crucially, the stimulus it would give to low-carbon innovation
in Europe.

Ms Hedegaard said a new stimulus was desperately needed. She warned that so many
carbon permits had been held unused in the EU, and so many credits were available
on the carbon market that firms could carry on with business as usual for the
foreseeable future.

The EU needed to do something to drive up the carbon price in order to drive
invention, she said.

Nothing to fear

Last week a consortium of major European industries issued a statement opposing
any plans from the Commission to adopt a 30% CO2 cut without reciprocal agreements
from the US. That is the current EU position.

Ms Hedegaard said that sectors facing competition had nothing to fear because
the carbon quotas had been arranged to protect their interests.

But she did agree that the world needed a binding global deal on emissions. In
a passionate speech she urged delegates to the UN climate talks to concentrate
on what could be agreed, rather than on areas of disagreement.

She hoped that at the climate talks in Cancun in December there might be a UN
agreement rubber-stamping parts of the Copenhagen Accord (not supported by all
UN members), along with progress in new areas.

She hoped the UN would enshrine the principle of shared responsibility for the
climate; the target of a 2C maximum increase in temperature; guidance on verifying
emissions; adaptation to a changing climate; forestry and fast-start finance.

The commissioner admitted that she was worrying that public scepticism about
climate change is on the rise in some countries – particularly, she said, the
UK. “The day we have 100pc certainty it’s too late to act,” she said.

Commenting on the suggestion from the Hartwell Group that the Kyoto Protocol
would not deliver and the carbon markets would not work, she told BBC News: “Given
the huge disappointments of this year it is understandable that some people would
say we should find a different approach.

“But I would remind people that we now have all the world’s major nations agreeing
that they bear a share of the responsibility for protecting the climate and keeping
temperature rise below 2C – that would have been inconceivable if you had suggested
it a few years ago.

“It is too soon to kill off Kyoto. And the carbon markets can provide us with
more finance for clean development if we can drive up the carbon price somehow.

“It’s not an accident that China is now developing trial carbon markets with
major firms.”



Before the Copenhagen talks in December, the EU had offered to:

“slash greenhouse gas emissions by between 80-95% by 2050 and to deepen cuts
from 20 to 30% by 2020 if other world powers sign up for similar action. The ministers
said they also reached accord on tough action on deforestation and agreed that
aviation would have to cut its emissions by 10% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels
and shipping by 20%.”

see   Guardian   21.10.2010


The UK target is for 34% cuts in CO2 by 2020
The Scottish target is a 42%   cut (in line with the level suggested by most climate
science) by 2020, which Scotalnd may not be able to meet.