Disappointment over EU climate goals

With tough negotiations over targets still taking place at the last minute, the European Commission has today announced their 2030 climate change package.

By 2030, the Commission want to see a 40% cut in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, renewable sources to make up at least 27% of energy consumption (though without legally binding targets for individual Member States as in 2020) and the reform of the failing EU Emissions Trading System.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:

"The Commission had a real chance to be ambitious on climate change today. Instead, we have a severely watered down package, and the UK Government are largely to blame.  

"Rather than fighting climate change, the Commission's proposals show a severe lack of ambition. The 40% emissions cut target is weak, and will put us at risk of a temperature rise of 2 degrees C which is universally recognised as the trigger point for dangerous climate change. The weak renewable energy target of 27% doesn't even provide for binding targets at national level, we do not even have a non-binding target on energy savings, and the so-called "reform" of the ETS will fail to deal with the huge number of surplus allowances which have crashed the carbon price and undermined investment in low carbon technologies. 

"The UK Government has behaved atrociously, adopting a complete volte face from "greenest government ever" to "get rid of all the green crap". They have deliberately undermined the renewables target through nonsense propaganda about high energy bills being caused by renewables – DG ECON's report today on energy economics shows that fossil fuels are still the main driver of electricity and gas prices – so that they can pursue their obsession with extortionately expensive nuclear power. By doing so, they attack a key Scottish growth sector, and show why we can't trust London to stand up for our interests in Europe. They back bankers bonuses' all the way to the European Court of Justice but won't lift a finger to help our renewables sector.

"I was further disappointed by the lack of specific assistance for carbon capture and storage. This is an important bridge technology to a zero carbon future, and one Scotland and Europe can take the lead on, but there was no system of targets or other incentives to help our demonstration projects get off the ground.

"Scotland is way ahead of Europe on climate change. Our 2020 climate change plans go further than the goals announced by the Commission today and we're well on our way to meeting our ambitious target of generating all of our electricity consumption through renewable energy by 2020. The European Commission should take a leaf out of Scotland's book when it comes to fighting climate change.

"It's not over yet though - the European Parliament votes on the package next month so there's still a chance to fix this."