The European Commission has produced a draft white paper to kick start the debate on whether it needs to keep setting legally binding targets for emission reduction until 2030.
The 27-member bloc is, as a result of legally binding targets for 2020, the world leader in tackling greenhouse emissions. However the recession has meant that re-evaluation of the process is under consideration for the period from 2020 to 2030.
In 2008 EU leaders voted to enforce a policy whereby all member states signed up to targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
The FT reports that the draft paper contains reference to “important changes” that have happened since the original targets were published.
“There are diverging views on the need for targets and types of targets,” it says, adding that although such goals provide political momentum and a long term vision for investors, some say they are not cost efficient and do not take industry competitiveness sufficiently into account.
This raises questions such as, “should the targets be at EU, national or sectoral level and be legally binding”, it says, suggesting the consultation process consider “the issue of whether having only a greenhouse gas emissions target for 2030 would be appropriate” or not.
The newspaper also states that unnamed officials in Brussels are considering binding targets being renewed for both emissions and renewable energy policies, though possibly not for energy efficiency.
The draft paper spells out the advantage of legally compulsory targets, noting renewable energy’s share of the energy mix grew by 1 per cent a year when there were no binding targets, and jumped to 4.5 per cent a year after targets were set.
It also suggests renewable energy should account for about 30 per cent of the total energy mix by 2030, up from 13 per cent in 2010.
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