UK calls for 30% cut in EU emissions at climate meeting

As European environment ministers meet in Luxembourg today, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne is backing calls for the region to increase its emissions reduction target to 30%.

The meeting today will discuss a European Commission proposal last month to up the EU emissions reduction target from 20% to 30% by 2020.

An analysis by the Commission says that the effects of the economic recession mean that increasing the region’s target for emissions reduction by 10% would only cost an extra 0.6% of GDP.

The Commission’s proposals would strengthen the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which has been high on the agenda of the new Coalition Government.

“I’ll be using my first meeting of EU environment ministers to make clear the new UK Government’s support for ambitious European action on climate change, including a 30% cut in EU emissions,” said Huhne ahead of the meeting.

He added that increasing the target will support a sustainable economic recovery in the region and put Europe ahead of the game on low-carbon opportunities.

“Europe must take a lead in securing an international climate agreement… We’ve got to make real emission cuts at home, and work constructively with all other nations,” he said.

The move is also being backed by Scottish Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson and a coalition of businesses represented by The Climate Group, The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and WWF Climate Savers Programme.

Major companies including Acciona, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Johnson Controls, Google, Marks and Spencer, Nike, Philips and Sony Europe are supporting the call from the three business leaders groups.

“Reaching a target beyond 20% will unlock innovation and financing potential, and will increase European industry’s readiness for new growth and development opportunities as the markets for low-carbon, high-efficiency goods and services expand,” says Jose Manuel Entrecanales Domecq, chair of Spanish infrastructure, energy and water concern Acciona.

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Related stories:
EU over half way to 20% cut in emissions by 2020 (7-Jun)
UK 2020 renewables and emissions targets: nearly but not quite (24-May)
European Commission proposes increasing emissions reduction target to 30% (13-May)
Europe can move to low-carbon energy supply without risks (14-Apr)
EU expects to meet 20% renewables target by 2020 (22-Feb)

11 June 2010