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Poland blocks EU Low Carbon Roadmap and agreement on higher emissions reductions targets

EU climate targets left in limbo, dampening hopes for Durban

Oslo (22 June 2011)
In a surprising turn of events, at yesterday’s EU Environment Council Poland blocked Council Conclusions on the European Commission’s 2050 Roadmap towards a low carbon economy, confounding those countries that had hoped to reach a political agreement on an increase to the EU’s 20% emissions reduction target by 2020.

The principal aim of the Roadmap is to outline how the EU could reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990), including interim targets of 60% by 2040 and 40% by 2030. Implicit in the Council Conclusions was recognition that with the full implementation of EU’s energy efficiency targets a 25% reduction in emissions could also be achieved internally by 2020. However, it appears that this potential for a 25% emissions reduction was more than Poland, a country heavily dependent on coal, could accept.

“Poland’s decision not to endorse the 2050 Roadmap will hamper progress towards more ambitious climate targets both internally and potentially at the global level”, explained Stig Schjølset, Head of EU Carbon Analysis at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. “Since Poland will take over the rotating EU Presidency in July, it is very unlikely that the EU will be able to make a decision on increasing the 2020 target for the next 6 months at least, leaving EU climate targets in limbo in the short and longer term. This also implies that the EU will now no longer be able to confidently lead the call for greater global emissions reductions targets come the Durban Summit in December”.

Schjølset added that the carbon picture could be further depressed by today’s publication of the draft Energy Efficiency Directive which, when implemented, will lead to greater emissions reductions. If more emissions are reduced the price of carbon would inevitably drop unless the overall reduction target is increased beyond 20%.

However, Schjølset stressed that discussions concerning the EU emissions reduction target will only be put on hold for a while. “Denmark will take over the EU Presidency during the first half of 2012, and this will again give a push towards a 30% target. So, although yesterday’s news puts back EU progress towards greater emissions reductions targets and may possibly dent the EU’s position in Durban, it is our belief that in the end there will be a compromise at EU level and we expect the outcome to be a 25% reduction target for 2020”

For further information, please contact:

Candida Jones
PR Manager, Thomson Reuters Point Carbon
Mob: +44 (0) 777 5754 763
E-mail: cjo@pointcarbon.com

Stig Schjølset
Head of EU Carbon Analysis Thomson Reuters Point Carbon
Mob : +47 90560457
E-mail : ss@pointcarbon.com