One of Europe’s most influential business lobbies is trying to push the EU towards climate action standstill, after a leaked memo obtained by EURACTIV called the bloc’s existing 40% emissions reduction target “already ambitious”.
The BusinessEurope document, dated 3 October, shows that references to an 80%, 95% or carbon neutral climate target have been deleted, while the term ‘trajectories’ has been replaced by ‘scenarios.’
It also does not define action to be taken against climate warming in order to limit it to the 2°C or 1.5°C pathways referred to in the Paris Agreement.
The note is a draft response by BusinessEurope to the European Commission public consultation on a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions. It will feed into the Commission’s deliberations and is expected to be released on 28 November.
It follows a leaked memo obtained by EURACTIV that shows how BusinessEurope plans to “oppose” any increase in the EU’s climate ambition for 2030.
The draft underlines that the EU’s existing emission reduction target of 40% is “already an ambitious one”. It is an opposite stand to scientific consensus that says it is not far-reaching enough for the EU to meet its climate target as defined by the Paris Agreement.
While pointing out several times the need to keep business competitive, the note refers to existing climate policies which it calls “ambitious”.
These policies, however, are based on Council conclusions dating back to October 2014 and are therefore inadequate for the purposes of the Paris deal, which was brokered in 2015.
“The EU has the world’s most developed carbon market, and it is estimated that the EU’s emissions will only constitute 5% of global emissions if each Party under the Paris Agreement reaches its current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs),” the document also reads.
This means BusinessEurope is not taking into account the notion of historic responsibility of developed countries in global warming, which the Paris Agreement refers to in the formulation of “common but differentiated responsibility”.
The draft goes on by also mentioning the need to minimise the risk of ‘overlapping policies,’ a formulation that implies that the current set of climate and energy policy instruments are not cost-efficient.
This means the business lobby is calling for less regulation with a view to adopting a carbon market-based EU ETS-only approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which would lead to removing additional policy targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The draft conclusions take an opposite stance to some members in the business community calling for more corporate action against global warming.
They are also in sharp contrast to the much-awaited, landmark IPCC report, which is expected to underline the urgency to tackle climate change.
Its report will be published on 8 October and is widely expected to scientifically demonstrate that the upper-temperature goal of the Paris Agreement does not represent a climate safe zone, with the difference between warming of 1.5C and 2C being damaging to communities, economies and ecosystems across the world.
It also shows that it goes against a number of member states in favour of a more ambitious EU climate policy, as shown by another leaked memo seen by EURACTIV.