22nd Jul 2017

Europe's business leaders say 'no way' to 30% carbon cut

  • Climate activist in Copenhagen: business is divided on the 30 percent shift (Photo: Stop Climate Chaos Coalition)

Some of the largest corporations in Europe have warned EU leaders against agreeing to an increase of the bloc's commitment to greenhouse gas reductions from 20 percent to 30 percent.

In an open letter addressed to Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt ahead of this week's European Council meeting (10-11 December), Business Europe - the lobby representing many of Europe's major industries and employers - said that offers on the table from other powers are not sufficient to warrant making the jump.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The EU must not increase in any way its current unilateral 20 percent carbon reduction requirement," the group said in the letter, issued on Tuesday (8 December).

The EU has promised to increase its 20 percent commitment if other powers make similarly ambitious proposals.

The employers' federation said that this has not been achieved, pointing out the paucity of Washington's offer in particular.

"The US Congress proposal to reduce US emissions by 17 percent by 2020 compared to their 2005 levels only represents a three percent reduction from 1990 green gas emissions. Therefore, it cannot be considered an 'equivalent' effort justifying an EU move to a 30 percent reduction."

Business Europe said that further emissions reductions should be achieved via free trade and greater use of carbon offsets, the widely criticised method of "reductions" whereby others, usually in the third world, are paid to make CO2 cuts on behalf of rich donors which continue to pollute as before.

"Too little thought has been given to measures that harness the strength of free trade and the market economy to boost technological cooperation to fight against climate change," the business lobby said.

The confederation also drew a line in the sand over intellectual property in the global climate negotiations currently ongoing in Copenhagen, demanding a "robust system of intellectual property and investment protection" and saying that information-sharing between the global North and South should be via "readily available off-patent technologies."

Away from the spotlight of who is offering what in terms of CO2 cuts and cash to the developing world, the issue of technology transfer has emerged as a key sticking point.

Pool of knowledge

Many countries do not have the technology or the know-how either to adapt to the effects of climate change - from building sea defences against a rising tide to the development of more drought-resistant crops. In this context, countries such as Brazil, China, India and other "G77" countries want to see the creation of a "Global Technology Pool for Climate Change" that would try to ensure access green technology without the barrier of private patent protections.

However, European businesses are very much divided over the Copenhagen talks. On the same day that Business Europe issued its polite reminder to EU leaders, other businesses who consider themselves climate champions sharply criticised the stance of the employer's federation.

In a joint media statement response to the Business Europe letter, three corporate green alliances - the Prince of Wales' EU Corporate Leaders Group, the Climate Group and WWF's Climate Savers (which include such companies as Shell, Philips and Deutsche Telekom) - said that not everyone in the corporate community agreed with the Business Europe stance.

"The positions taken by many traditional trade associations, including Business Europe, do not necessarily reflect a consensus in the business community," it said.

"The EU should raise its unilateral emissions reduction target to 30% showing real leadership ahead of the Copenhagen Summit," the statement continued. "This would boost confidence in the international carbon market and encourage the investment needed to drive transformational change in the power, industry and transport sectors."

"Crucially, due to the impact of the recession, a 30 percent target would cost substantially less now than 20 percent was expected to cost in 2008."

US leaves Paris climate deal

Trump said Paris deal “punishes the United States”, even though treaty leaves it up to nations to determine own climate contribution.

Trump delays climate decision

The White House said it would take more time to decide if the US should remain part of the Paris climate agreement, while talks are underway in Bonn.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary