Adequate emissions reduction
...A gaping hole in climate policies
Action against a threat as extensive as climate change requires long-term planning to reach our goal of a low-carbon economy by 2050.The European Union likes to present its climate policies as a model for global action on climate change. However, at the centre there is a gaping hole: the EU’s commitment to cut its emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 is not sufficient to avoid dangerous climate change. In addition, the EU27 has already met its climate target for 2020 with nine years to spare. This is great, but why rest on our laurels?
The benefits of a European low carbon economy extend far beyond achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It would also make us competitive in global low carbon markets and unlock innovation and financing potential, while investments in renewable and efficient energies will improve European energy supply security and create new jobs.
It is time for more ambitious emissions reduction targets
Now that we know that the costs of achieving higher emissions reductions are significantly lower than expected, it is time for more ambitious and adequate emissions reduction targets within Europe if we want to reach our goal of a low-carbon economy by 2050.
This planning has to provide achievable steps in a clear timeline and must comprise all sectors that affect greenhouse gas emissions, from energy production to buildings and products to transport. Coordination at the highest level is essential.
The European Commission recognised this necessity and in 2011 launched the so-called ‘2050 roadmaps’ which indicate how the EU can reach its climate and energy targets, policy challenges, investment needs and opportunities in different sectors. However, the further implementation needed to turn this into reality is largely overdue.
Sam Van Den Plas
Policy Officer, Climate & Energy
WWF European Policy Office
+32 2 740 09 32