Green MEPs, NGOs protest Commission's new 2030 climate and energy targets

Chanting “Frack off  Barroso” and “Climate SOS”, Green MEPs and NGOs gathered on Wednesday in front of the European Commission in Brussels to protest against the EU's new climate and energy targets for 2030.

Dubbing the new proposals 'ambitious, affordable and realistic', the EU's executive is pushing for a binding 40% reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels.

Brussels also set a target for renewable energy at 27%. But this 27% however will only be binding at EU level. No mandatory goals have been set for individual member states, a move that has been widely criticised. 

Green groups have already accused the Commission of drafting plans under the influence of the fossil fuels industry and countries like the UK, Poland and Spain.

'(We want) the current target for emissions targets to be increased to 55%. the current proposal is for around 40%, which scientists say will give less than half a chance of meeting the global goal of keeping below 2 degrees'. Oxfam EU Economic Justice Policy Advisor Lies Craeynest said.

'What we are seeing is a strong lobbying from energy companies, like EON, ENEL, this type of companies and they are protecting their fossil fuel interests. But what we need in the EU is a transformation to clean energy sources.' Greenpeace EU Climate policy director Joris Den Blanken said.

But EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard fought back at accusations of a weak proposal, arguing that a 'more ambitious plan' would have been 'dead politically'.

Hedegaard also urged other world economies to follow Europe's example and stop 'backtracking' on their clean energy commitments.

'40% for 2030 is what Europe must do, but also what is cost-efficient for Europe to do. Be honest, that is my message to the NGOs. 40% is not a small thing, it's a big thing. It will require a lot from Europe. If all other big economies followed our example, then the world would be in a much better place. So if I were and NGO, then I would work a bit on other economies.' EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said.

The Commission also leaves it up to EU countries whether or not to exploit shale gas reserves.

The new proposal will now be discussed by EU heads of state in the upcoming Council meeting next March.

Published date: 
Wednesday, 22 January, 2014 - 18:03