EU environment ministers meeting in Brussels last week put off a decision on increasing the region’s emissions reduction target from 20% to 30% until next year.
The statement from the council meeting said it had taken note of a presidency report looking at options for moving beyond the 20% greenhouse gas emission reduction target and “welcomes ongoing discussions on assessing policy options”.
The UK, Germany and France have been pressing for an increase in the 2020 target.
The council calls now for the European Commission to further elaborate on the options for increasing the target and look at the consequences at the member state level.
The options will be reviewed again – in light of ongoing international climate change negotiations – at the council meeting in the spring.
The meeting also cemented the EU position ahead of the international Cancún climate conference in November. A single legally binding commitment should be the goal, says the council, although an extension of the existing Kyoto Protocol could be considered.