Industry committee MEPs not interested in tackling dangerous climate change

22 September 2008

Brussels, 22 September 2008 - Climate Action Network Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace and WWF have heavily criticized the outcome of today's vote by the European Parliament's industry (ITRE) committee on 'effort sharing' [1].

Environmentalists slammed the committee's opinion that countries should be able to buy their way out of real emission cuts in the EU by being able to purchase an even greater quantity of offsets than originally proposed by the European Commission. The ITRE committee vote would allow up to 80 per cent of emission reductions to be met by the purchase of external offset credits. This would mean that by 2020, member states' emissions from non-industrial sectors [2] would only be reduced by a feeble 2 per cent, compared to 2005 levels.

The ITRE committee also supported measures which could prevent an EU 30 per cent emission reduction target from being automatically adopted once an international agreement on climate change has been reached, and failed to introduce any improved measures to ensure that countries are penalised if they do not meet their targets.

Reacting to the vote Climate Action Network Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace and WWF said: "Should these types of amendments become law, the EU would cease to be seen as a credible climate partner internationally. European politicians should take meaningful action to avoid dangerous climate change, such as strict annual targets enforced by financial penalties."

"MEPs need to be reminded that in March 2007, European heads of state agreed to back a 30 per cent EU reduction target by 2020 in the framework of an international agreement on climate change. The industry committee would like to make a move in this direction very difficult, if not impossible."

Environmental groups call on the Parliament's environment committee, the leading committee on the issue, to overturn the industry committee vote [3]. They also pointed to the inconsistency between this vote and the commitment by the European Parliament's climate change committee to tackle dangerous climate change by supporting measures to keep global average temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius.

Keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius is the focus of the new 'Time to Lead' campaign - www.timetolead.eu - from Climate Action Network Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace and WWF.

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NOTES

[1] This decision sets emission targets for 2020 for the 27 member states (for all sectors not covered by the EU's emissions trading).

[2] Emissions by European industry are covered in the EU emissions trading directive.

[3] The industry committee passed the compromise amendment increasing the amount of external credits that Member States can use to off-set their emissions reductions by a single vote.