Fabian Demicoli

Commission Floats 2030 Targets on Emissions and Renewable Energy

The European Commission will probably
put forward by the end of the year proposals for 2030 targets for the reduction
of CO2 emissions  and increasing the use
of renewable energy, according to Connie Hedegaard and Günther Oettinger, the
European commissioners for climate and energy respectively.

There has been uncertainty over
whether the current college of commissioners would suggest 2030 targets or leave
it to their successors. An orientation debate on the subject indicated that
they might be leaning towards setting only an emissions reduction target,
leaving renewables and energy efficiency to the next Commission.

The EU's existing targets – set in a 2008
package – are a 20% reduction in emissions, a 20% increase in renewable energy
and a 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020. Investors have complained that
the existing 20-20-20 targets do not cover a sufficiently long timescale to
provide certainty for investment.

Hedegaard has been determined to set
new targets for 2030 quickly, not only to give investors in low-carbon
technologies more long-term certainty, but also to raise the deflated price of
carbon in the EU's emissions trading system (ETS). But she has faced stiff
resistance, both within the Commission and from some member states, notably
Poland, which says new targets should be set only once new international
emissions reductions are made at UN level in 2015.

The Commission has launched a stakeholder
consultation on the issue, which will be open until July. Separately, it also
released a communication on international UN climate talks last week. The
statement concedes that not all issues are likely to be resolved by the
deadline of 2015 – the date set by international leaders in 2011 by which a new
binding climate agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol should be agreed.

The communication said the principle
of ‘common but differentiated responsibility' – how treatment of developing
countries should differ from that of developed nations – could remain
unresolved until the main structure of a deal is agreed.

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