Leading environment journalist Sonja van Renssen gives an insight into the EU’s progress on reducing green house gas emissions in order to tackle climate change and an outlook on the debate on reduction targets for 2030 coming up next year.
According to the European Environment Agency, Europe is doing very well tackling climate change. A closer look on the figures shows that there is still a lot to achieve. While only four out of 28 member states – namely Bulgaria, Denmark, France and Germany – show good progress on reducing emissions, many other states are lagging behind. Belgium, France, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for example have problems to meet their renewable targets. Austria, Luxembourg and Spain are the three member states that are struggling most to reduce emissions from transport and households.
Although the economic recession might have facilitated the reduction of industry-related emissions the trend is going in the right direction, argues the European Commission. Also in terms of decoupling economic growth from emission developments progress is visible. “The decoupling trend is the result of policies”, says the institution. The European Climate Foundation (ECF) is less satisfied with the current developments and points out that more has to be done.
Regarding the green house gas emission targets for 2030 the European Commission and the European Climate Foundation are in disagreement. While a reduction of 40% is enough for the Commission, the ECF favours a reduction target of at least 50%. A debate on this target will take place at the European Council in March 2014.
Featuring statements by Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director at the European Environment Agency, Jos Delbeke, Director-General for Climate Action at the European Commission and Stephen Boucher, Programme Director of the European Climate Foundation