Wednesday

22nd May 2019

Germany, France rubbish unilateral 30% cuts in emissions

On the eve of the European Commission's unveiling of a key study on how the EU can sharply ratchet up its climate promise of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the bloc's two most powerful members have torpedoed the initiative.

The EU has long promised to move from its current level of cuts in emissions of 20 percent up to 30 percent on 1990 levels by 2020 - but only if other major powers make comparable reductions.

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The paper is widely expected to show how the EU can make the leap with little additional cost and with large benefits in terms of providing incentives for the development of green technologies. Brussels is very concerned that China, the US and other states are stealing a march on the old continent in this new realm of investment.

But on Tuesday, Germany and France jointly dismissed the proposals ahead of their publication.

"We have shared our concerns at the commission's proposal," French industry minister Christian Estrosi told reporters at a joint news conference with German economy minister Rainer Bruederle.

Mr Estrosi stressed that the EU can make the additional cuts, but under the same proposed bargain as before, that other countries must make similar efforts.

"The European Union is ready to adopt the 30 percent figure if other major economies make comparable undertakings," he said.

"We have the same analysis," Mr Bruederle added.

"We believe that after the failure of the Copenhagen summit, we must give ourselves a bit more time."

Business groups are also lobbying hard against the proposal, with Business Europe, the trade association of some of Europe's biggest corporations, writing to the commission on Tuesday criticising the idea of a unilateral jump to 30 percent cuts.

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'A reality check shows that we are already falling a little bit behind in the first few years,' said the new coordinator for the European rail traffic management system (ERTMS).

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