Friday, 24 October 2014

Members of the EU met yesterday at a summit in Brussels to discuss a proposed energy and climate plan for 2030 including a binding goal of cutting Europe’s carbon emissions by 40% from 1990 levels. Prime Minister David Cameron believes climate change is “one of the most serious threats facing our world” and the UK has been praised by other leaders including Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb for taking “a much stronger role than it used to” towards solving the EU’s energy and environmental issues.
The deal also proposes a 30% improvement in energy efficiency and a 27% share of Europe’s power coming from renewables by 2030. 
However, trouble is expected after Poland has stated that it will consider vetoing the goal due to its reliance on coal for 90% of its electricity, stating that it expects coal to still be its primary energy source by 2050. Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz warned that the EU’s planned goal would raise energy bills by 120% and as such intends to oppose such “drastic” measures, asking other EU members to understand that Poland is less developed than many of the wealthier countries in favour of the deal. Unfortunately it is expected by British officials that a compromise may be necessary to gain Poland’s support towards the plan.
Additionally, various companies including Shell as well as the European Trade Union Confederation fear that the goals are too “unambitious”, claiming that the proposed 40% cut is a wasted opportunity to create potentially millions of new jobs in the renewable energy sector. This comes from a recent analysis by the ETUC suggesting that further binding goals could drastically improve employment rates around Europe. The Union proposes a binding goal of improving energy efficiency by 40% as opposed to 30% and a target of 30% of Europe’s power coming from renewables rather than 27%.
Professor Jim Skea, vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, disagrees with the EU-proposed goals, believing that the 40% cut is “too little too late” to make a difference towards global carbon emissions. He claims that “many people (have not) grasped just how huge this task is” and that cutting emissions by 40% is not the best solution “if we are really serious about our long-term targets.”
Personally I remain optimistic about the outcome of this summit. You should see another post regarding the final verdict of the European Union after the summit is over. 


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