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Climate: EU should move to 30% emissions reduction target, say MEPs

Plenary Session Press release - Environment25-11-2010 - 13:10

The EU would be acting in its own economic interest if it raised its 2020 CO2 reduction target to 30%, says a European Parliament resolution approved on Thursday, which also highlights forest protection and climate aid commitments to developing countries as critical areas for progress in upcoming international talks in Cancún, Mexico.

The resolution - narrowly adopted with 292 votes in favour, 274 against and 38 abstentions - sets out the European Parliament’s position ahead of UN climate talks in Cancún (29 November - 10 December). An official delegation of 15 MEPs (1) will attend the second week of the conference to meet other legislators and civil society representatives, and press for agreements that are critical to achieving a global binding deal.

Delegation chair Jo Leinen, (S&D, DE), said “deadlock in climate change negotiations would be unacceptable in Cancún. The EU needs to push for concrete results and play its own part by stepping up its CO2 emissions reduction target from 20% to 30%. The EU also needs to deliver on fast-start funding promises to gain the trust of developing countries."

30% less CO2 = more economic growth

The resolution states that setting a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020 (based on 1990 levels) would be "in the interest of the future economic growth of the European Union”. This was a controversial point among MEPs, as some would prefer to link the 30% target more closely to conditions, such as other countries' commitments. MEPs deplored the fact that the EU is not on track to achieve 20% energy savings by 2020, pointing out that this target is non-binding. 

Developing countries

The EU and the rest of the industrialised world must fulfil their responsibilities vis-à-vis developing countries, stress MEPs, who want the EU to show its willingness to continue in a second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol from 2013. To establish trust in Cancún, MEPs call on EU Member States to make good on their €7.2 billion pledge of "fast-start" financing to help developing countries adapt to - and mitigate - the effects of climate change. By 2020, the EU should contribute €30 billion per year (on top of other overseas development aid), towards a global climate fund, they add.


Forests are critical to climate because of their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. MEPs want strong EU support for "REDD+", an initiative designed to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, which account for 20% of the global total. Tighter definitions of forests are needed to ensure funding is not sidetracked to commercial plantations, they add.

(1) EP Delegation: Jo LEINEN (S&D, DE, Delegation Chair), Karl-Heinz FLORENZ (EPP, DE, Vice-chair), Ivo BELET (EPP, BE), Elisabetta GARDINI (EPP, IT), Eija-Riitta KORHOLA (EPP, FI) Peter LIESE (EPP, DE) Dan JØRGENSEN (S&D, DK) Linda McAVAN (S&D, UK) Marita ULVSKOG (S&D, SE) Lena EK (ALDE, SE) Corinne LEPAGE (ALDE, FR)  Yannick JADOT (GREENS/EFA, FR) Miroslav OUZKY (ECR, CZ) Bairbre DE BRUN (GUE/NGL, UK) Anna ROSBACH (EFD, DK)

REF. : 20101125IPR00549