Monday

21st Sep 2020

EU climate offer unchanged

European diplomats on Wednesday (27 January) decided to retain the EU offer of a 30 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2020 if other powers make comparable reductions in the hope that by holding to its previously committed level of ambition, it will regain its international climate change leadership.

The bloc will stick with its 20 percent reduction pledge but will neither make the leap to 30 percent unilaterally nor abandon the conditional offer, as some countries had favoured.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The EU is to send a letter to the United Nations on Thursday notifying the body of its carbon reduction commitment.

By the end of January, rich countries were supposed to have inscribed their CO2 reduction targets in an annex to the Copenhagen Accord, the controversial document bashed out by a handful of powers in the Danish capital during last month's UN climate summit, while developing countries were not strictly bound by this date.

A number of member states, led by Italy and Poland argued against a maintenance of the upper offer, saying that the carbon reduction pledges of other powers, especially the United States, did not compare to what the EU had put on the table.

The US has promised to cut its emissions by 17 percent on 2005 levels. Using the same 1990 baseline as Europe and most other players, the American cut amounts to a three percent reduction.

They also argued that in the current economic climate, such a move would endanger domestic industry.

Likewise, European business leaders have favoured a shelving of the 30 percent offer.

In 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.

"The EU must not increase in any way its current unilateral 20 percent carbon reduction requirement," the business group said in an open letter to European leaders.

Other states, notably the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, favoured sticking with the upper conditional pledge as a way to regain international leadership on the issue after the bloc was sidelined during the UN climate summit in Copenhagen last month. In the dying hours of the conference, the four leading emerging economies and the US met without the EU in the room to hammer out the three-page Copenhagen Accord.

In the end, the EU's emissions reduction offer is the same as it has been for the last year.

Belgium, which backs the 30 percent stance, at one point had suggested a half-way offer of 25 percent, but this was not embraced.

Scientists however say that aggregate global cuts of at least 40 percent are needed if the planet is to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Higher EU climate target 'economically feasible'

A new report indicates that the EU's plan to reduce the bloc's greenhouse emissions by 55 percent by 2030 is "technically and economically feasible" - with a reform of EU carbon market and "adequate safeguards" for low-income EU countries.

Recovery plan slammed for failing to tackle climate crisis

EU leaders agreed that about a third of the €750bn recovery package and the €1.074 trillion seven-year budget will be invested in projects contributing to climate action. However, environmental activists said that the package falls short on climate safeguards.

EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds

EU auditors concluded on Thursday that EU key policies adopted to protect and halt the decline of pollinators across the bloc have been largely inefficient and called on the European Commission to better address this issue.

News in Brief

  1. Belarus president puts army on EU borders
  2. US: Lebanese group hoarding explosives in EU states
  3. Russia loses EU sanctions appeal
  4. UK guidelines explain Brexit treaty-violation plan
  5. Over 10,000 corona cases a day in France
  6. Greek police move Moria refugees following fire
  7. WHO warns Europe not to cut 14-day quarantine period
  8. MEPs urge EU Council to 'finally' protect rights in Poland

Feature

The 150 random French citizens advising Macron

Some 150 randomly-picked men and women make up Emmanuel Macron's Citizens' Climate Convention. This week Macron invited them to the Élysée Palace and promised - nearly - all of their wishes would come true .

France shuts oldest reactor amid Macron climate pledges

France's oldest nuclear power plant finally closed on Tuesday, one day after president Emmanuel Macron pledged to speed up the country's transition to a greener economy responding to the proposals from the French citizens' convention on climate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Commissioner: No one will like new EU migration pact
  2. Buying an EU passport 'no use for evading sanctions'
  3. MEPs call for first-ever EU law on Romani inclusion
  4. EU to help draft Libya's strategy on border security
  5. Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal
  6. Ylva Johansson on Migration and Drama Queens
  7. Does Erdoğan's long arm now reach Belgian universities?
  8. Biden threatens UK trade deal over Brexit shambles

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us