On 23 and 24 October 2014, EU’s heads of state will determine Europe’s future action to avoid dangerous global temperature rises. At this important date, they will decide whether to follow the European Commission’s proposal to reduce 40% domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions below 1990 levels by 2030.
The proposed target of 40% GHG emission reductions is not nearly enough to put Europe on track towards its decarbonisation objective of 80-95% reductions by 2050. Moreover, technical loopholes in the current climate framework have accumulated to a 4 billion hot air bubble which threatens EU’s future climate ambition. Without immediate and urgent action, this hot air bubble would effectively cause that the actual emissions reductions under a 40% GHG reduction target may be as low as 26%.
A first leaked draft of the 2030 Council Conclusions confirms this threat. The leak offers a first picture of possible outcomes of the Council meeting. Notably, the leaked document suggests:
- Banking “phantom pollution rights” = Turning the proposed 40% GHG target into 26%!
- Allowing offsetting with trees = Offsetting permanent emission reductions with temporary CO2 storage
- Dynamic allocation of free pollution permits = Increasing subsidies to industry instead of having them pay to pollute
- Inclusion of transport in the EU ETS = Inventing an alibi to do nothing to reduce transport emissions