Press Service of the Greens/EFA Group
Press release 10.12.2008
Current proposals on EU emissions reduction – to be considered by EU heads of state and government at this week’s summit – smack of neo-colonialism, according to Green MEPs. The European Parliament draftsperson, Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi, has hit out at the proposals, which would enable the bulk of EU domestic emissions reductions to be offset through investments in projects in third countries. “The proposal put on the table by the French presidency on the use of external offsetting in the EU’s effort sharing legislation is undermining EU credibility in the international climate negotiations. The proposal would mean more than 70% of the EU’s emissions reduction commitments under the effort sharing legislation (1) would be outsourced through external offsetting. This flies in the face of the UN IPCC’s recommendations, repeatedly endorsed by the EU, that industrialised countries have to reduce their domestic emissions by 25-40% by 2020 (based on 1990 levels) to have a 50:50 chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees.
“Outsourcing our emissions reductions is not just scientifically unsound, it is morally wrong and sends a very negative signal to the international climate talks. It means the EU could cherry pick the cheapest climate mitigation potential in developing countries in order to prolong our own unsustainable model.
“It ignores the fact that developing countries also have to take measures to reduce their own emissions (by 15-30% by 2020 based on business as usual according to the UN IPCC, as endorsed by EU environment ministers). Member states seem to overlook the fact that there can be no ‘double counting’, so developing countries would still have to deliver their own emissions reductions in addition to those delivered to offset European emissions. We are expecting them to pick up our slack.
“Offsetting committed emissions reductions also means delaying our shift to a sustainable and low carbon economy. It means delaying modernising our own economies and investing in Europe.
“EU leaders really need to think twice before signing off on these nonsensical proposals.”
(1) The effort sharing proposal covers emissions from all sectors not included in the EU emissions trading scheme – 55% of total EU emissions. It includes sectors such as transport, domestic heating and agriculture.
The EU emissions trading scheme will include provisions to enable 50% of the emissions reductions to be offset.