According the EuropeanVoice Online, the European Union is sticking closely to the climate strategy that was tested at last year’s Copenhagen climate summit, according to an early draft of conclusions to be adopted by EU leaders next month.
The centrepiece of EU climate strategy remains an offer to extend its emissions reduction pledge to a 30% cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, if other countries make similar efforts. But the EU wants others to shore up their pledges to ensure that average global temperatures do not rise by more than 2°C, the threshold that scientists say is needed to avert catastrophic climate change. The combination of a conditional target and exhorting others to do more was the strategy the EU pursued in 2009.
The EU text restates the importance of the 2°C threshhold, stressing that it means developed countries must cut their emissions by 80%-95% by 2050 below 1990 levels – an important European goal that was left out of the Copenhagen agreement at China’s insistence.
The European Commission will also be asked to update its study on the impact of a 30% cut in emissions.
The text still has to be agreed by national diplomats, who continue discussions tomorrow (19 January).
Environment ministers will discuss the conclusions next month (15 March) before passing them on to heads of state and government, who will meet in Brussels on 25-26 March.
Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, promised that climate change would be “top of the agenda” at this summit, after it was knocked off the agenda of last week’s informal summit by the Greek financial crisis.
United Nations-sponsored talks on climate change resume in May in Bonn, ahead of annual UN negotiations at the end of the year in Cancún, Mexico.
Joris den Blanken, Greenpeace’s EU climate and energy director, warned that the EU risked going to Bonn empty-handed. “It looks like nothing new will happen in March from the EU side. If the EU only comes up with an impact assessment in June then there is nothing really new on the table from the EU side.”
But he welcomed the decision to update the impact assessment, which he predicted would show that the economic crisis has made it cheaper to reach EU emissions targets.
“Decreasing costs of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and the economic crisis, will make it cheaper to reach European emissions targets,” den Blanken said.