By Malee Oot January 28, 2014
The European Union framework for climate change and energy policies launched by the European Commission last week in Brussels set the most ambitious targets of any region on Earth for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and renewable energy generation. The new framework mandates Europe must cut greenhouse gases by 40% (compared to 1990 levels) and generate 27% of its energy from renewables by 2030. The European agreement comes in advance of a binding global treaty on greenhouse gas emissions slated for the upcoming U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change conference (COP 21) next December in Paris, France.
Negotiations continued until the deadline Wednesday morning as EU member states locked horns over renewable energy targets. Germany, Italy and France strongly supported the renewables goal, while member states like Poland, who rely heavily on fossil fuels, were more resistant.
The UK’s energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey was supportive of the emissions reductions targets but apprehensive about the renewable energy target, telling The Guardian, “the UK remains concerned about any renewables target.”
Germany is one of the leading supporters of more progressive renewable energy targets in the EU; and the country has also set ambitious renewables targets for itself, aiming to raise renewable generation from a current level of 25% to 40-45% by 2025.
Some groups, including representatives from environmental nonprofits and European renewable energy providers, called for even higher renewables targets citing the tremendous potential for job creation in the renewable energy sector.