The European Union looks unlikely to extend commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent because it cannot be sure other countries will follow suit.
SEVILLE, SPAIN (JANUARY 16, 2010) INSTITUTIONAL POOL - The European Union will probably not extend commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions
in a bid to limit global warming because it cannot be sure other countries will follow suit, bloc ministers said on Saturday (January 16) .
The EU has already set its own internal target of cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) by 20 percent from 1990 levels over the next decade. It promised ahead of climate talks in Copenhagen in December that it would deepen those cuts to 30 percent if other countries do likewise.
European Parliament Environment Head, Jo Leinen said he hoped the EU's conditions for moving to 30 percent would be met before the Mexico meeting.
"I could tell you already now that the parliament would like the EU to go to 30 percent and maybe change the conditionality if necessary. Not to wait until all the other have done their legislation and these comparable efforts but just say Europe will go for 30 percent and we expect an international global agreement to certify it and to make it binding," said Leinen at the closing news conference after the meeting.
Spanish Secretary of State for the Environment, Teresa Ribera chaired a meeting of EU environment ministers in Seville, southern Spain, which came days before a United Nations deadline on Jan. 31 for countries to commit to emissions cuts.
"What is still outstanding, and needs to be determined is that evaluation of comparability with regards to efforts by others," Spanish Secretary of State for Climate Change Teresa Ribera told journalists.
The 27-country bloc accounts for about 14 percent of the world's CO2 emissions and is seeking a strategy to revive global talks on climate change after Copenhagen failed to produce a binding agreement.
Spain holds the EU's rotating presidency until July and will play a role in defining the bloc's climate strategy for 2010.
The move will disappoint environmentalists who argue that the economic crisis has slowed industry to the point that the less ambitious goal is within easy reach.
Prior to the Copenhagen talks, the United Nations had called for wealthy countries to cut emissions by 25-40 percent in order to keep the average rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Scientists have said reductions tabled at Copenhagen would lead to a 3.5-degree rise by 2100, or enough to melt the Greenland ice sheet and raise sea levels by 7 metres.
But EU ministers said they would keep pushing other countries to increase their emissions cuts ahead of a climate meeting in Mexico at the end of this year.