Europe Sabotaging Its Own Fight Against Climate Change
Grappled by the current economic crisis the European countries are looking to water down the proposals of an emissions reduction legislation. Several groups consisting of numerous member nations are up in arms against various sections of the proposed plan. East European nations, for the fear of Russian muscle flexing, have completely rejected the plan; Britain, Italy and few others are opposed to renewable energy targets and Germany and France are demanding that panelties against non complianent automakers be reduced as the industry reels in turmoil.
Europe, which was seen as the leader in the fight against climate change, is now fighting a war against its own in an attempt to set precedent for rest of the world and hopefully inspire developing countries to inititate their own plans to cut emissions.
EU is now opposed to increasing the emissions reduction goal to 30 percent (from 20 percent) if Kyoto-type international treaty is signed next year. It is safe to assume that Europe’s 20 percent reduction till 2020 would cover up any deal brokered at the international stage but what about Europe’s credibility as the leader in fight against climate change. For several reasons Europe needs to stay ahead of the world as far as reducing emissions and moving towards renewable energy is concerned.
- Europe has demonstrated great resolve and will to press forward with tough environmental goals and standards, that is the reason it is viewed as the leader.
- Europe finds itself at the forefront in the geopolitical clash of the West and Russia. Russia has demonstrated that it would not hesitate in using energy as a tool to sabotage the energy supply to Europe. Therefore, energy independence become essential.
- Since the United States has so far refused to be a part of any binding emissions reduction scheme the onus falls on Europe, as a developed economy, to lead by example and pressurize the developing economies to do more to reduce their carbon emissions.
It also wants a change in the auctioning of pollution allowances for power companies, which could lead to windfall profits estimated at up to €15 billion.
Last night environmental groups said the moves could allow countries such as Britain to build a new generation of coal power stations without fear of exceeding their legally binding emission targets.
WWF echoed the concerns about what this new proposal would mean for the global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The proposal would not only undermine Europe’s credibility to reduce its carbon emissions but would also give teeth to developing countries’ argument that they wouldn’t commit to any emissions reductions until the developed economies do the same.
“We are on the verge of losing an ambitious climate package. It sends the wrong signal to developing countries — it appears that developed countries are not willing to adopt domestic emission reduction targets,” said a WWF spokeswoman.
It is very unfortunate to see Europe being succumbed to a global predicament that the global credit crunch is. What required is a plan that would not only help achieve ambitious emissions reduction goals but also add value to the dwindling assets. A well coordinated effort is required so that energy and resurgence of economic growth are tied together so that both these problems are solved simultaneously because the world cannot afford to overlook one to solve the other.