Wednesday

24th May 2017

Britain's EU climate change goals a 'challenge'

  • The report suggests the UK could at best reach a 9% target by 2020 using solar, wind and hydro energy (Photo: European Community, 2005)

The UK has admitted it will be a "challenge" to meet ambitious EU renewable energy goals following revelations of an internal report suggesting there was little chance of them being reached.

"It is no secret that these are ambitious targets and it will be a major challenge to meet them, not just for the UK but for all EU states," a government spokeswoman was quoted as saying on Monday (13 August).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But the spokesman said the country remained "fully committed" to renewable energy.

In March, Britain - along with the 26 other member states - signed up to an overall EU goal to have renewable energy account for 20 percent of energy by the end of the next decade.

But yesterday the Guardian newspaper published details of a leaked report from the former Department of Trade and Industry in which it was admitted that Britain would miss the renewables target by a wide margin under current policies.

The document notes that on current trends, without a policy change, Britain can hope to reach a five percent target by 2020.

At best it could hope to reach a nine percent target by this date using solar, wind and hydro energy.

Officials in the department, recently renamed as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, fear that Britain may be asked to reach a 16 percent target, according to the report.

The report also suggests that UK ministers lobby some EU commissioners or other countries such as France and Germany to get a more flexible interpretation of the target.

The European Commission is currently working out how the 20 percent target should be divided among member states.

More advanced member states - 13 percent of Germany's energy already comes from renewables - will have to reach a target higher than the 20 percent.

Less advanced states will have lower targets - with the aim of bringing the average to 20 percent.

Commenting on the news article, the European Commission said it was confident the UK would meet the targets.

"The UK government has never expressed doubts on the need of or the feasibility of these targets so at this stage we remain confident they will deliver on the commitments they have made, and that they will make when the targets are broken down nationally".

The British revelations, roundly condemned by green groups, are likely to get repeated elsewhere in Europe as member states wait for Brussels to come with the small print of how to reach the ambitious goals.

A similar battle is already being played out in the car industry with the commission currently examining how to divide the burden between manufacturers of large and small car on meeting a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new cars from 2012.

Children among dead in UK bomb attack

Children are among the victims after a suspected suicide bomber detonated at the Manchester Arena on Monday, the latest in a string of terror attacks to hit Europe.

Investigation

Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

Russian intelligence services are using martial arts clubs to recruit potential troublemakers in Germany and other EU countries, security experts have warned.

Letter

An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive

The ongoing revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is a key opportunity to reduce exposure of Europe's children to advertisements of health-harmful products – an opportunity that should not be missed.

Investigation

Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

Russian intelligence services are using martial arts clubs to recruit potential troublemakers in Germany and other EU countries, security experts have warned.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms