GHG target offset by lower ambition on renewables
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The UK backs tougher EU target for cutting greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, but refuses to support more stretching renewable energy goals
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey is urging the EU to increase its greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions reduction target to 50% by 2030 as part of a new global agreement to tackle climate change.
However, despite significantly raising the bar on cutting GHGs across the bloc, Davey has also confirmed that the UK would oppose revised renewable energy targets for member states.
Setting out the government’s position on the EU 2030 framework for climate and energy policies, which was published as a green paper by the European Commission in March, Davey said the UK would argue for an EU-wide binding target to halve emissions in 2030 compared with 1990 levels in the context of an ambitious global climate deal.
He also stated that, in the absence of a new international agreement in 2015, the EU should commit unilaterally to a 40% reduction target.
The commission’s green paper indicates that the bloc needs to achieve a 40% cut in GHG emissions by 2030 to be on track to reach a reduction of between 80–95% by 2050, which scientists say is consistent with limiting atmospheric warming to below 2°C.
The paper also highlights the need to raise the proportion of energy in the EU supplied from renewables to around 30% in 2030, a figure recently backed by MEPs. The existing target is a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020, and is credited with stimulating investment in low-carbon generation across Europe.
Davey said rather than setting a new target for renewable energy, the government would argue that member states ought to be allowed to pursue a flexible approach to meeting emissions targets.
“There are a variety of options to decarbonise any country’s economy. In the UK, our approach is technology-neutral and our reforms will rely on the market and competition to determine the low-carbon electricity mix. We will therefore oppose a renewable energy target at an EU level as inflexible and unnecessary,” he said.
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