UK urges Europe on 50% ambition on emissions reductions

Published on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:48
Written by Scott Buckler

Today, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey challenged Europe to set their emissions reduction target to 50% by 2030 on 1990 levels as part of an ambitious global deal to tackle climate change in 2015

The decarbonisation of the EU economy is fundamental to tackling climate change, whilst ensuring that all sources of power generation play an important role in this ambition.

Edward Davey said:

"The UK is a global leader in tackling climate change and we need to maintain the momentum towards a binding global climate agreement 2015. That is why we will argue for an EU wide binding emissions reductions target of 50% by 2030 in the context of an ambitious global climate deal and even a unilateral EU 40% target without a global deal. This 2030 target is ambitious, but it is achievable and necessary if we are to limit climate change to manageable proportions.

"We will need significant levels of renewable energy and other low carbon technologies to meet such an ambitious 2030 EU emissions target. The UK is committed to increasing renewables in our own domestic energy mix. The tripling of support available to low carbon electricity through the £7.6bn Levy Control Framework provides an immediate boost. And the radical reforms to the Electricity Market set out in the Energy Bill will incentivise renewables to 2020 beyond, building the low-carbon economy we need to compete in the green global race.

"But we want to maintain flexibility for Member States in how they meet this ambitious emissions target. There are a variety of options to decarbonise any country's economy. In the UK, our approach is technology neutral and our reforms will rely on the market and competition to determine the low carbon electricity mix. We will therefore oppose a Renewable Energy target at an EU level as inflexible and unnecessary."

Earlier this year, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on "A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies". The Government will be responding to the Commission consultation to set out how we believe the 2030 framework should look in order to give businesses the certainty they need to invest in low carbon to enable cost effective emissions reduction and to ensure the EU remains the world leader in low carbon technologies. The UK Government position on the EU 2030 framework is:

  • We strongly support EU action to tackle climate change and to help deliver the EU's goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees. We remain committed to an increase in the EU climate target for 2020 to 30% are pushing strongly for urgent structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to ensure it continues to incentivise investment in low carbon.
  • We must celebrate the success of the 2020 Climate and Energy Package. By 2011 EU emissions were already down 17.6% on 1990 levels (Reference: European Environment Agency Report).
  • But we should also learn the lessons from 2008 package – the EU climate target for 2020 was not suitably ambitious and the renewables target has been costly to implement. It has meant that we have not been able to choose the most cost effective decarbonisation approach in response to changing circumstances.
  • Looking to 2030, the EU should adopt a unilateral EU target for 2030 of a 40% reduction on 1990 levels. In the context of an ambitious global climate agreement for the period beyond 2020, the EU's target should increase to up to a 50% reduction on 1990 levels.
  • We believe that the best way to deliver our low carbon goal is through a binding GHG target and a strong EU Emissions Trading System, with flexibility for Member States to pursue a wide range of options to decarbonise in the least cost way. Whilst we strongly support renewables to 2020 and beyond, the uncertainties at this time are too large to set hard numbers in a binding EU Renewables target, which we do not believe would be cost effective or fit well with our electricity market reforms. We also support EU action where appropriate to enable increased levels of renewables, such as a renewed focus on Research and Development under the Strategic Energy Technologies Plan and ongoing work to complete the Single Energy Market.
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