Brussels, 18 January
2008 - Next week, the European Commission will propose a climate and energy
package with draft laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental NGOs
warn that parts of the package could be undermined by strong and unjustified
behind-the-scenes pressure from European industry and industry-friendly
CAN-Europe, Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the
Earth Europe believe that the proposals currently discussed within the
Commission may be inadequate and inconsistent. Especially in light of the EU's
international political commitment at the Bali UN climate summit in December
2007 - to lead the fight against global climate change.
The most pressing concern is raised by the
Commission's overall EU climate target of a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse
gases from 1990 levels by 2020.
proposal is currently in violation of the Bali agreement for developed
countries to reduce emissions by 25 - 40 per cent by 2020, a yardstick for staying below two degree global warming. If the European Union were to
undermine this range, it would kick the legs out from under the international
process. No one can expect the US, Japan or Canada to top a bad EU offer",
Stephan Singer, Head of the European Climate and Energy Unit at WWF.
that in the few days left before the adoption of the climate parts of the
package, all sorts of industry sectors are making heart-wrenching pleas for
special treatment. The Commission has to resist this pressure in the interest
of creating a level playing field and protecting the climate, otherwise its
package will fail," said Mahi Sideridou, EU Climate Change and Energy Policy
Director from Greenpeace.
to be credible, the climate policy also needs to have a strong penalty system
to ensure that companies and countries actually meet their targets," said Sonja Meister, Climate
and Energy Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe. "The current proposal does not ensure that
emission cuts are in fact made in the EU, and will allow polluters to buy their
way out through cheap credits from abroad. This will prevent investment and
innovation in cleaner technology in Europe."
NGO campaigners are also concerned by a lack
of improvements on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which caps the
overall amount of climate pollution from industrial plants. The ETS had been
under severe criticism for not delivering emission reductions and enabling
power companies in particular to reap hefty profits. Attempts to improve the
system are under attack from a range of industrial sectors, who want to ensure
they can continue receiving CO2 allowances for free.
"If the EU
keeps handing out free CO2 permits to big polluters, the whole instrument will
fall flat on its face," says CAN-Europe Director, Matthias Duwe. "This is the final opportunuity to rectify the
errors in the EU ETS and if the proposals for next week are not significantly
strengthened, misinformation from industry will have dealt a severe blow to EU
climate policy, which will no longer be credible to European citizens and to
other countries. "