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EU finalises emissions pledge for UN climate summit

Environment ministers from the European Union member states adopted on Friday (6 March) an official EU emissions reduction pledge to be presented at United Nations climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.

The EU's official contribution will be a target of a 40% cut in emissions by 2030, compared to levels emitted in 1990. The target has to be achieved domestically rather than through offsets that allow member states to buy into carbon-cutting schemes outside Europe.

EU diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the 40% target will have to be shared among member states and debate over how to achieve that is unlikely to be completed before the Paris talks.

One option is to share the effort based on a member state's GDP per capita. 

But the emissions cuts beyond 2020 agreed by environment ministers fell far short of Europe’s fair share of the action needed to avoid dangerous climate change, said Friends of the Earth Europe.

Susann Scherbarth, climate justice campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said, “There is a huge gap between what climate science and equity tells us Europe needs to do and the agreement of the ministers today. It is frustrating to hear our governments describe their climate pledges as ambitious when they are failing to move us away from fossil fuels fast enough."


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Issue 40