Wednesday, May 26, 2010

European Union is NOT increasing its emissions cut targets!

A number of newspapers and other sources, including The Times, are claiming this week that the European Union plans to increase the target for greenhouse gas emission cuts.

They report that a new target of cutting emissions by 30 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, would be set and that this "would cost the EU an extra £33 billion a year by 2020".

Unfortunately, there is no truth in the story.

It is true that the European Commission has released a discussion document on the subject. But it is not, as The Times describes, a draft of a communication.

In fact, it explicitly says, "The purpose of this Communication is not to decide now to move to a 30% target: the conditions set are clearly not met."

The conditions remain the same as they were during the Copenhagen discussions in December. At that point the Commission said that it would move from the current target of 20% to 30% if everybody else committed to legally binding targets.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told us unequivocally that there are no plans to increase the target to 30%.

And currently the expectation is that a legally binding global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would be a successor to the Kyoto Protocol will not happen, if it ever will, until mid-2011 at the earliest.

One might wonder why The Times is publishing so prominently - it was on the front page - a story like this. It contains the following paragraph:

"Business leaders fear that thousands of jobs could be lost and energy bills could soar. Carbon taxes on road fuel, heating and other sources of emissions could be introduced, with proceeds reinvested in renewable energy products."

Those who hold conspiracy theories about sceptics of climate change or the European Union might draw their own conclusions.

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