Interview: EU climate change objectives ‘insufficient’


Aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 will not be enough to allow the EU to assume a leadership role during upcoming global climate negotiations, argues Yannick Jadot of Greenpeace in an interview with EURACTIV France.

Instead, the campaign director at Greenpeace France calls for the bloc to adopt the “more ambitious” objective of a 30% reduction in GHG emissions. He says this is necessary if “real changes” to the engagement of developing countries in negotiations over a global climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol are to be agreed in Pozna?, Poland at the end of the year.

Jadot concedes that the Pozna? negotiations may be “difficult”, but points to an increasingly evident global desire to move forward on fighting climate change as a positive sign. As far as the EU is concerned, he believes the proposed renewables directive provides “a solid basis” upon which to build. 

However, he considers France’s failure to develop a “strong energy efficiency policy” to be “pathetic” considering the leadership role to which it is aspiring ahead of its EU presidency. He also claims that it is “among the least dynamic EU countries when it comes to reducing emissions,” a situation for which it must bear the “industrial and social cost”.

Nevertheless, France can achieve its objective of producing 23% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, Jadot argues, particularly as its wind, biomass, geothermal and solar power opportunities give it the “second-highest renewable energy potential in Europe”. Thus renewable sources must be the basis of France’s alternative energy policy rather than an “absurd” focus on nuclear power, he adds. 

On transport policy, Jadot said Greenpeace France would lobby the Commission to abandon its objective of providing 10% of the bloc’s transport fuel from biofuels by 2020 because “when it was settled upon […] in March 2007, the dangers of biofuels were not as well-known”. He calls for the development of a “genuine transport efficiency policy” to limit fuel consumption instead. 

Finally, Jadot warned the French government not to accept a compromise deal on the Commission’s energy and climate change ‘package’ which “empties the text of all its content” for the sake of ensuring it is adopted under its EU presidency. He would rather see France enhance its international credibility by stepping up its domestic efforts, particularly on renewables, and “spearheading” the fight against climate change in Europe. 

To read the full interview with Yannick Jadot on the EURACTIV France website, please click here (French only). 

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