Media Statement: EU’s announcement for Paris climate deal fails to address loopholes that could slash announced target in half

Brussels, 6 March 2015. Today, Europe’s environment ministers presented the EU’s contribution to the international climate agreement to be finalized in Paris by the end of the year. Carbon Market Watch criticises the official contribution for the lack of detail and calls on ministers to specify measures that avoid that hot air and emission removals from forests undermine the 40% domestic emissions reduction target.

The climate action plan presented today confirms the EU’s commitment from October 2014 to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and specifically excludes the use of international credits.

Femke de Jong, Carbon Market Watch Policy Officer commented:

“The EU has today confirmed to meet its at least 40% target domestically without the contribution from international credits. This is a welcome step and indicates that the potential linkage of the Swiss and EU carbon markets will need to be coupled with an increase in the EU’s 2030 climate target.” 

However, the information provided is intransparent on other issues and fails to specify the amount of emission cuts the EU will really achieve. The commitment for example does not mention whether or not the EU plans to use the surplus of emission allowances. This surplus is expected to accumulate up to 4-6.5 billion excess emission permits and could turn the 40% climate target into merely 17%-26% effective emission reductions.

Femke de Jong, added:

“The EU today failed to remove the smokescreen of about 4 billion tonnes of hot air that masks the amount of reductions the EU’s climate commitment will deliver in reality. To ensure that 40% is not only a number on paper, this hot air needs to be cancelled before the start of the new international climate treaty.”

Regarding the contentious issue of how to account for emissions and emission removals from agriculture, forestry and other land uses, the approved text remains vague and unclear on whether emissions and removals from land use sectors are included in the 40% domestic climate target. The EU’s 40% climate target could be lowered by up to 5% if land-based removals are used to offset carbon pollution from transport and other sectors.

“By avoiding a decision to treat emissions and removals from the land use sector separately and on top of the EU’s ‘at least’ 40% domestic target, the EU wastes important political capital to set incentives for other countries to be transparent on the amount of emission reductions they will achieve” commented Carbon Market Watch Director Eva Filzmoser “To get back into the game, the European Commission needs to swiftly come up with a proposal to reform the EU ETS, including how to get rid of the glut of surplus emission allowances by 2020.”

Press contact:

Eva Filzmoser, Carbon Market Watch

Eva.filzmoser@carbonmarketwatch.org

+32 499212081

Femke de Jong, Carbon Market Watch

Femke.dejong@carbonmarketwatch.org

+32 489772637