EU to overachieve 2020 emission target but members still split over 2030 goals

The European Union will reduce its total emission by 24.5 percent below 1990 levels in 2020, exceeding the 20 percent reduction goal established by the current 20-20-20 strategy. The figure was presented during an informal meeting of the EU environment committee (ENVI) held on Wednesday (May, 14) in Athens and attended by EU Member States, candidate and EFTA countries’ environment ministers.
The meeting’s agenda focused on three topics: the marine environment management under the Blue Growth EU initiative, the EU strategy for the UNFCCC sessions scheduled in June in Bonn, and the climate and energy package for 2030.
Discussions on the Blue Growth Agenda involved  the valorizing of the diversity of marine ecosystems; the sustainable harvesting the deep-sea bio-georesources; the new offshore challenges; the ocean observation technologies; the socio-economic dimension of Europe’s ‘blue’ economy.
According to the meeting’s background notes, in Bonn the EU intends to present the planned overachievement of 2020 commitments as “an important contribution to closing the pre-2020 mitigation ambition gap” that “puts the EU in a strong position to ask other countries where they stand on the implementation of their commitments”. For the discussions on the 2015 global agreement, the EU “should explain that it is preparing its commitment for 2030 and the process and timetable for doing so, as well as underline the  importance for all to do so by early 2015”, the document said.
According to Reuters, the meeting in Athens confirmed EU member states remained split over the Commission’s proposal for a 40 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030. Greek Energy and Environment Minister Yannis Maniatis explained that there are three positions over the issue, Reuters reported: some member states support the Commission’s proposal, others hesitate to adopt any targets at all, and a third group, including Greece, pushes for even more stringent commitments.
The EU Commission in January adopted a  framework for climate and energy policy in the period from 2020 to 2030, proposing a reduction target for domestic GHG emissions of 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990, together with a EU wide renewables target of at least 27 percent and a complementary energy efficiency target to be defined later this year. The EU Council in March said that a final decision on the new policy framework will be taken “no later than October 2014”.