Tougher CO2 targets needed say businesses

16th June 2011

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Puma, Unilever and Aviva are among companies urging the EU to adopt more ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

More than 70 firms operating across Europe have signed a WWF declaration calling on the EU parliament to push for a 30% cut in emissions by 2020 in a vote next week, rather than maintaining the existing 20% target.

The organisations agree with the WWF that the tougher target will encourage a swifter transition to a green economy driving greater investment and innovation and helping to create new jobs.

“A move beyond 20% would send out a strong statement of intent from the EU that it wants to base its future success on the foundations of a low carbon economy,” said Peter Bragg, head of environment and energy at Eurostar.

Dr Paul Toyne, head of sustainability at engineering and environment consultancy WSP agreed: “Setting ambitious targets allows industry to provide solutions through investment and innovation, resulting in green growth.”

Sticking to the current target would perpetuate “a cycle of low ambition that will inevitably lead to dangerous climate change,” argued Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF UK.

“The 30% target is a no-regrets position for Europe’s economy, and it is logical to move to it now,” he added.

While welcoming the news, UK energy secretary Chris Huhne warned: “The current lack of resolve from the EU will put a brake on the growth aspirations of some of Europe’s biggest firms.”

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