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Business lobby urges European leaders to set ambitious climate change targets



As the European Commission finalises its EU emission and renewable energy targets, business groups and trade unionists are calling for ambitious plans to encourage investment, create jobs and secure a low-carbon future.

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Earlier this year the European Commissions voted to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and set a minimum EU-wide target for renewable energy of 27%. These targets will now be debated, but are expected to remain unchanged.

However, the vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently criticised the proposed 2030 targets, claiming that they do not go far enough and will leave future governments with a lot of work to do if the union is to meet mid-century targets.

The targets are also crucial in the run up to UN climate negotiations to be held in Paris next year, where it is hoped a global deal can be agreed.

Business lobby group CBI is among the organisations calling for leaders to set out an ambitious plan that considers competitiveness and supports energy-intensive industries in moving towards a low carbon future. Strong targets could boost confidence, and as a result investment, in businesses, the CBI argues.

Katja Hall, CBI deputy director-general, commented, “As European leaders meet in Brussels, there will be some major economic and geopolitical issues on the agenda. It is vital that they make bold decisions on the future of the EU’s energy package for 2030 to give business the clarity it needs to make long-term investment decisions.”

She added that a single binding target of 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be the best outcome and would pave the way for “comprehensive, long-lasting reform of the EU’s Emission Trading System”.

“Demonstrating that Europe’s climate ambitions can go hand-in-hand with competition will be crucial as we head into next year’s negotiations in Paris,” Hall concluded.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) also supports a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions but calls for a 30% renewable target, arguing that there is “no employment and social justice on a devastated planet”.

Bernadette Ségol, ETUC general secretary, said, ”Climate change poses an existential challenge to humanity. At the same time there are enormous job opportunities arising from investment in energy infrastructure, renewables energy and energy efficiency.

“As trade unionist we want ambitious climate and energy targets with a just transition for workers and their communities to a low-carbon economy.”

Photo: michelle carl via flickr

Further reading:

New lignite coal plants threaten EU climate change targets

Climate change damages in the EU could amount to €190bn – study

Europe could see an increase in forest fires due to climate change

Ambitious energy efficiency targets are key to combating climate change

Just one in four European cities fully prepared for climate change


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