EU environment ministers meeting in Brussels today agreed in principle to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU to at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 with the intent of contributing to holding global warming to a maximum 2°C over the next century.
They also agreed to commit to reducing collective GHG emissions to 30% by 2020, with a view of a cut of 60-80% from 1990 levels by 2050, “ provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and economically more advanced developing countries adequately contribute according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities.”
Negotiation of such a global agreement—the follow-on to the Kyoto Protocol, the emission targets of which expire in 2012—is critical, according to the council of ministers.
The Council’s position is an affirmation of the EU’s leadership and determination to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous levels. But we can only succeed if the international community moves urgently to strike a comprehensive agreement to reduce global emissions after 2012. The EU has demonstrated its seriousness by committing to an emissions cut of at least 20% even before negotiations start. We now look to other developed countries to show responsibility and follow our example.—European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas
The conclusions from the Environment Council meeting serve as input to the Spring European Council meeting next month. The European Commission had outlined the proposals in January.