EU fails to strike deal on how to cut carbon emissions

Two-day summit in Brussels ends in stalemate over how to hit environmental targets

EU leaders failed to agree on how to meet the bloc’s ambitious new climate targets and share the responsibility of cutting carbon emissions.

By 2030, Brussels wants to reduce emissions by at least 55 per cent of 1990 levels – a significant step up from the previous goal of 40 per cent.

A UK-based charity issued a warning that, should the EU rely solely on carbon markets to reach its target, the price of diesel could rise by 50 cents a litre over the next decade.

After a two-day meeting in the Belgian capital, EU leaders offered their support for the 55 per cent target but no progress was made on its implementation.

The European Commission will publish a raft of policies in July on the measures required to meet the stricter goals, but member states remain divided on which industries and countries should contribute more.

President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen said she listened “very carefully” to the views of EU countries on how to meet the climate objectives “effectively and fairly”. She reiterated the collective support of the 27 member states for the 55 per cent target.

“Some of these measures may have social impacts,” she said. As a result, Ms von der Leyen said it was vital to consider how compensation could be utilised to protect people.

A carbon trading system – set up to limit emissions – is used for power plants, factories and airlines operating within Europe, but the commission wants to introduce a similar idea for building and road transport sectors.

“The European Council invites the commission to swiftly put forward its legislative package together with an in-depth examination of the environmental, economic and social impact at member state level,” an EU leaders said.

European Council chief Charles Michel said the debate was “very complex”, while Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said talks on sharing responsibility could only commence once the commission has set out how it intends to meet the emissions target.

“Today’s discussion on climate didn’t raise any new elements, but it was politically important that everyone could again set priorities. Once the commission presents its analysis, we will have a new basis for discussion. To have that discussion now, in a vacuum, wouldn’t make sense,” he said.

The EU also urged G20 countries to enhance their climate change ambitions ahead of November’s Cop26 summit in Scotland.

The EU statement said the bloc underlined “its readiness to seize the global momentum” and welcomed the US returning to the Paris climate change agreement.

Updated: May 25, 2021 09:55 PM


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