The European Union's 28 heads of state and government discussed climate and energy targets for 2030 for the first time at a summit in Brussels today. The options they are considering put dirty industry interests ahead of citizens and the planet and will not bring about the transition to the clean energy system urgently needed, reacted Friends of the Earth Europe.
Yesterday evening hundreds of people protested in frustration at the lack of urgent action on climate change by the EU. They called for a clean, safe energy future that puts people at the centre, not polluting corporations.
Sonja Meister, climate justice and energy coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "Climate change is happening but government action isn't. Our governments are not considering any options which will bring about the urgent transition to clean energy we need to protect the planet. Instead governments are making plans which please polluting industry and keep us reliant on dirty coal and gas. Europe must adopt three strong binding targets for cutting emissions, cutting energy use, and increasing renewable energy for all EU countries for 2030."
The 'EU 2030 package' debated during the meeting would see the EU commit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). The package contains no binding targets for individual countries to increasing renewable energies or to cut energy consumption. These targets are dangerously inadequate and off the radar of what science tells us is necessary to avert catastrophic climate change.
Friends of the Earth Europe believes emissions must be reduced by at least 60% by 2030 and there must be binding targets to reduce energy use by a minimum of 50% and increase the share of renewables to at least 45% to reduce Europe's dependency on polluting energies like coal and shale gas. Additionally, the EU needs to provide financial support for climate action in developing countries.
Sonja Meister added: "People will not stand for the looming threat of climate change not being taken seriously by politicians. People have expressed their frustration outside this meeting and shown they are willing to take things into their own hands by making clean, community energy happen."
A report by Friends of the Earth Europe and Corporate Europe Observatory this week documents the extent of the close relationship between European Commission officials and business lobbyists. It details the tactics fossil fuel companies and heavy industry have used to convince the EU's most senior politicians to put business wishes above what science requires and the principles of climate justice.
Across Europe people are already involved in creating clean, community-owned energy. Community energy projects exist in many forms right across Europe – from solar villages in Spain, to co-operative wind farms in Belgium, and community energy saving schemes in the Czech Republic – but they need more political attention and backing to fulfill their potential.