10/02/2014 ELECTED Members of the European Parliament could face a political showdown with the Government after they decided they would support tough new targets on climate change after all.
The decision undermines proposals for a weaker climate change regime for the next 15 years proposed by the European Commission – reportedly at the behest of the UK and Polish governments – just last month.
They have decided to set higher targets to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions, to require all EU members to increase the amount of electricity they generate from renewable sources – and to require targets for energy efficiency measures too.
The Greens voted to adopt the strategy, despite the targets falling short of what they wanted and a bid to ban fracking being rejected by other MEPs, in order to give their strong backing to the demand of setting binding targets – an approach rejected by the European Commission in January – in the first place.
London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert said the decision represented massive progress on the proposals published in January.
“I am delighted MEPs have come together to reiterate the importance of taking concerted EU action on tackling climate change – and requiring all member states to meet strict on energy efficiency and renewable energy generation as well as overall emissions reduction.
“Such targets are absolutely essential if we are to move towards limiting global warming to 2°C, as required to stave off climate change’s most devastating impacts.
“Of course, we’d have liked them to be higher: Greens proposed binding targets of reducing total emissions by at least 60%, generating 45% of our energy from renewable sources, and cutting demand for electricity by 40% by 2030.”
MEPs eventually agreed to set targets of 40% and 30% for reducing emissions and switching to renewables, as well as voting to accept the Greens’ proposal for a 40% cut in energy demand by 2030.
Ms Lambert added: “I am particularly pleased that MEPs agreed to our proposed target for energy efficiency measures, as it is this which will deliver most jobs and cut fuel bills while tackling climate change: a real win-win-win.
“Of course I am disappointed that we couldn’t get the support we needed for an EU ban on fracking, although MEPs have agreed that all exploration and drilling requests should be subject to a full community consultation – that there should be no secret fracking under peoples homes without permission, as proposed by the UK Government this week.”
Greens also successfully proposed changes to the EU’s Emissions Trading System to make it better able to force firms to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.