EU eyes rich north in sharing greenhouse-gas targets

2016-07-20 16:18
The sun rises above Tata Steel's blast furnaces at their Scunthorpe Plant in north east England. (AFP)

The sun rises above Tata Steel's blast furnaces at their Scunthorpe Plant in north east England. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - The EU on Wednesday unveiled national targets for cutting greenhouse gases by 2030, placing the burden on richer northern countries including exit-bound Britain to help meet the bloc's UN goal.

The plans for the 28 EU member states put the onus on Sweden, Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Britain, France and Austria as the bloc seeks to meet its commitment to cut emissions by 40% over 1990 levels.

The countries must now approve the plans by the European Commission, although it is unclear how Britain will react following its shock June 23 referendum vote to leave the EU.

The EU set the 2030 target as its overall pledge in the UN's climate agreement, reached in Paris last December.

Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said in a statement this was "ambitious" but that he was "convinced we can achieve through the collective efforts of all member states."

"The national binding targets we are proposing are fair, flexible and realistic," Canete said.

"They set the right incentives to unleash investments in sectors like transport, agriculture, buildings and waste management."

Under the targets, which are based on economic growth, powerhouse Germany and tiny Luxembourg must cut emissions by 40% over 2005 levels, while Finland and Denmark must cut emissions by 39%.

Britain and France are asked to cut emissions by 37% while the Netherlands and Austria should cut by 36%, according to the numbers released by the European Commission, the EU executive.

'Astoundingly out-of-synch'

Britain had to be included for legal reasons as it will remain a member of the EU for at least two years after it officially triggers its divorce from the bloc, sources said - adding that the adoption of the targets will be a lengthy process in any case.

In contrast, Bulgaria, the poorest state in the bloc, was given an emissions reductions target of 0%, while Romania, Latvia, Croatia, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania are all set below 10%.

But the system allows for flexibility. Member states can reduce emissions jointly across a range of sectors and over time.

The proposal aims to set binding objectives for member states from 2021 until 2030.

The proposals - which also allow for member states to buy and sell emissions allocations - will be debated by the member states and the European Parliament.

The non-government organisation World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said the proposals fall short of the ambitions Brussels set at the Paris summit.

"Not only is the Commission astoundingly out-of-synch with international climate commitments, but it has also included 'loopholes' in this proposal which will allow countries to cheat their way out of real climate action," said Imke Luebbeke, head of climate and energy at the WWF European Policy Office.

Read more on:    eu  |  greenhouse gas emissions  |  climate change

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.