EU ‘Backtracks’ On CO2 Targets In UN Accounting Fudge

frameworkEurope’s proposed new climate goals could be weaker than previously announced due to its method of accounting for changes in land use. Last October the bloc agreed to target greenhouse gas cuts of 40% on 1990 levels by 2030, a rise on its 20% goal for 2020. But in a leaked document outlining the European Commission’s plans for curbing carbon pollution, the 40% goal now includes land use, land use change and forestry accounting. This means the growth of existing forests could be used towards EU targets, which analysts say could mean the 40% drops to 35% in reality. –Ed King, Responding to Climate Change 24 February 2015

Given that heads of states agreed to “at least” 40%, including the land use sector would not be in line with the political decision that has already been taken. It would also be seen as ‘backsliding’ from the originally presented 40% target and would set the EU off on a bad start towards agreeing an ambitious international climate treaty in Paris in December 2015. — Eva Filzmoser, Responding to Climate Change 24 February 2015

After facing allegations of sexual harassment, Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri has stepped down as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with effect from Tuesday. The IPCC said it cannot comment or speculate on the judicial process while it is running its course. “Until this case is resolved there is a presumption of innocence,” according to Jonathan Lynn, Head, Communications and Media Relations, IPCC. –Meena Menon, The Hindu, 24 February 2015

European Commission plans to create a single market in energy, partly to reduce dependence on Russian gas, are sure to raise hackles in Berlin. Energy Commissioner Maro≈° ≈†efƒçoviƒç presented plans in Brussels on Monday for an “Energy Union” aimed at helping EU members avoid shortages, the S√ºddeutsche Zeitung reported. ≈†efƒçoviƒç called it “the most ambitious plan since the founding of the Coal and Steel Community” in 1951, the intra-European organization widely seen as a forerunner of the modern-day EU. But the idea is sure to meet resistance among ministers in Berlin, who insist that the EU should continue to regard energy as a matter for national governments ‚Äì a condition laid out in the treaties governing the EU. —The Local, 24 February 2015

European Union leaders want to enshrine in international law a goal to cut global emissions by 60 percent by 2050, according to a draft document that puts the bloc on a collision course with the biggest polluters. The EU document also proposes that the 2015 deal “should preferably be in the form of a protocol”, which is the toughest legal option. That could meet resistance from China and the United States, which are likely to prefer looser arrangements than internationally binding law. —Reuters, 24 February 2015

An eclipse of the sun next month could disrupt Europe’s power supplies because so many countries now rely on solar energy, electricity system operators have warned. “The risk of incident cannot be completely ruled out,” the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity said on Monday, adding the eclipse on March 20 would be “an unprecedented test for Europe’s electricity system”. “The whole of the European area is concerned either directly or indirectly,” it added, but countries with a large amount of solar power, such as Germany and Italy, are likely to be of most concern. –Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 24 February 2015

Prospects for early reforms to prop up the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), the world’s biggest carbon market, hang in the balance ahead of a closely watched vote on Tuesday with members of the European Parliament divided over how soon to act. Parliamentary sources said negotiations between rival political groups are likely to continue up to the vote at around 1400 GMT, which still needs to be followed by a plenary vote and to get the backing of member states. –Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 23 February 2015