UK, France and Germany call for 30% EU carbon emission target in 2020

A joint article from the three ministers claims that failure to increase carbon emission targets would jeopardise Europe’s competitiveness

Online PR News – 16-July-2010 – – The British energy minister Chris Huhne, German environment minister Norbert and French ecology minister Jean-Louis Borloo said that EU should set a new carbon emission target requiring it to cut carbon emissions by 30% on 1990 levels by 2020.

The three ministers teamed up and wrote in the Financial Times to call on other EU member states to support moves to strengthen the EU’s carbon emission target. They argued that a failure to do so would jeopardize the continent's long-term economic competitiveness.

According to the ministers, Europe is likely to lose the race to compete in the low-carbon economy to countries such as China, Japan or the US, since all of these countries are looking to create a more attractive investment environment by introducing low-carbon policy frameworks and channelling their stimulus packages into low-carbon investment. A 20% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020, according to them, is a carbon emissions target that seems now insufficient to drive the low-carbon transition.

The joint article claimed the global recession meant the cost of meeting the new tougher carbon emission target of 30% was far lower than first thought. The annual costs in 2020 of meeting the existing 20% carbon emission target are down a third from €70 billion to €48 billion. A move up to 30% is now estimated to cost only an extra €11bn more than the original cost of achieving a 20% carbon emission target, a supplement worth less than 0.1% of the EU economy.

A 30% carbon emission target would position Europe as one of the world's leading providers of low-carbon technologies

The new carbon emission target of 30% reduction of carbon emissions in 2020 would help to create jobs, being many of them in jobs-rich sectors like energy savings, and cement Europe's position as one of the world's leading providers of low-carbon technologies.

The EU has said it will upgrade its carbon emission target to 30% if other large economies adopt similar carbon emission targets, but the ministers argued the bloc should move unilaterally in an attempt to drive investment in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies.

The increase of carbon emission targets for 2020 was broadly welcomed by green business groups who urged the wider EU to back the proposals, saying that it would also serve to drive up the price of carbon in the European emissions trading scheme (EETS). However, the proposals are likely to face stiff opposition from some eastern European states who have consistently argued that a 30% carbon emissions target will prove unachievable.

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