EU 2011 Emissions 17.5% Below 1990 Levels, Higher Target Still Not Forthcoming

According to the European Environment Agency, EU greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.5% in 2011, standing about 17.5% below 1990 levels. That is just 2.5% below the EU’s target to reduce emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. So how about a little more ambition?

In fact, the European Commission itself has calculated that going beyond 20% would be quite straightforward. According to its low-carbon roadmap published in 2011, the 20% target will easily be achieved with existing policies. And, “If the EU delivers on its current policies, including its commitment to reach 20% renewables, and achieve 20% energy efficiency by 2020, this would enable the EU to outperform the current 20% emission reduction target and achieve a 25% reduction by 2020.”

But instead of going for higher ambition, EU climate negotiators in Bangkok once again told the world this week that “conditions are not right this year.” So when the EU signs up to a second Kyoto commitment period at the end of this year in Doha, it will commit to a target that is basically business-as-usual. That’s not exactly how I would define leadership.

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