Reacting to the announcement of European targets for climate change and energy Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“On climate change Europe is aiming to achieve less by 2030 than Scotland plans for 2020. A 40% target is far short of what is needed to ensure the world avoids disastrous climate change.
This is a victory for big polluters but a major disappointment for any-one looking for Europe to play a leadership role in UN talks about future global targets.

“The European Commission’s own research shows that rapidly decarbonising Europe would not only be good for the environment, it would also create new jobs, boost the economy and save millions by reducing ill health.[2]

“On energy the EU has set a weak renewable energy target that is not even binding on countries. Scotland is on track to meet all our needs from renewable energy by 2020 and to export power made from our huge natural resources of wind, wave and tidal energy. Weak targets in Europe will mean slow development of the green energy market, but Scotland can and must continue to be a pioneer of renewable energy technologies.”

Friends of the Earth believes three binding targets is the only way to ensure Europe effectively fulfills its responsibilities for tackling climate change. Emissions must be reduced by at least 60% by 2030 to be in line with science, and there must be binding targets to reduce energy use by 50% and increase the share of renewables to 45%. Only action on this scale will encourage the needed investment in clean energy resources to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and bring maximum benefits to the EU and its citizens.

EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso has previously declared that the EU has “set in stone a commitment to cap the temperature increase at 2°C”. [1] But data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Agency and the European Commission show a 40% emissions reduction target for 2030 in fact means a 50/50 chance of exceeding the 2°C threshold. By proposing a 40% target the European Commission is backing out of its commitment to limit global warming to safe levels.

And in another energy and climate-related announcement the European Commission published a weak framework on how to regulate shale gas which fails to protect Europe’s citizens and the climate against the risks of fracking. [3]


Notes to Editors


1. President Barroso on the results of the L’Aquila summit European Commission – MEMO/09/332 10/07/2009. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-09-332_en.htm
2. The impact assessment of the 2030 white paper shows:
– savings on health costs are three times higher in a scenario with a 45% GHG target and targets for renewables and energy savings than with a 40% GHG-only scenario
-Energy imports are significantly reduced in the more ambitious scenarios modeled by the Commission
-GDP impacts are the same (+0.55%) in the 40% scenario and in more ambitious scenarios with higher emissions cuts and targets for energy savings and renewables

3. Europe opens doors to dangerous fracking, January 22: www.foeeurope.org/shale_gas_framework_220114

4. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent.