European Greens Reject "Neocolonial" Climate Deal, CCS

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11 december 2008

From the site of The Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament

10 December 2008

EU climate package: EU climate policy verges towards neo-colonialism as governments propose to outsource most emissions reductions

Current proposals on EU emissions reduction - to be considered by EU heads of state and government at this week's summit - smack of neo-colonialism, according to Green MEPs. The European Parliament draftsperson, Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi, has hit out at the proposals, which would enable the bulk of EU domestic emissions reductions to be offset through investments in projects in third countries.

"The proposal put on the table by the French presidency on the use of external offsetting in the EU's effort sharing legislation is undermining EU credibility in the international climate negotiations. The proposal would mean more than 70% of the EU's emissions reduction commitments under the effort sharing legislation (1) would be outsourced through external offsetting. This flies in the face of the UN IPCC's recommendations, repeatedly endorsed by the EU, that industrialised countries have to reduce their domestic emissions by 25-40% by 2020 (based on 1990 levels) to have a 50:50 chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees.

"Outsourcing our emissions reductions is not just scientifically unsound, it is morally wrong and sends a very negative signal to the international climate talks. It means the EU could cherry pick the cheapest climate mitigation potential in developing countries in order to prolong our own unsustainable model.

"It ignores the fact that developing countries also have to take measures to reduce their own emissions (by 15-30% by 2020 based on business as usual according to the UN IPCC, as endorsed by EU environment ministers). Member states seem to overlook the fact that there can be no 'double counting', so developing countries would still have to deliver their own emissions reductions in addition to those delivered to offset European emissions. We are expecting them to pick up our slack.

"Offsetting committed emissions reductions also means delaying our shift to a sustainable and low carbon economy. It means delaying modernising our own economies and investing in Europe.

"EU leaders really need to think twice before signing off on these nonsensical proposals."


(1) The effort sharing proposal covers emissions from all sectors not included in the EU emissions trading scheme - 55% of total EU emissions. It includes sectors such as transport, domestic heating and agriculture.

The EU emissions trading scheme will include provisions to enable 50% of the emissions reductions to be offset.

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CCS too little, too late for urgent action on climate change
Financial Times, December 11 2008

From Jill Evans MEP and Kathalijne Buitenweg MEP.

Sir, In proposing “Best alternatives” to renewable technologies (FT.com, December 1), Ed Crooks and Rebecca Bream underestimate the potential of renewables and tout carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a bridging solution to our “addiction to fossil fuels”.

They are not the first to be seduced by the attractive idea of burying CO2 emissions underground. Some voices in the European parliament are demanding around €10bn of public money for CCS demonstration projects. However, technical feasibility is not realistically expected until 2030, with full commercial viability around 2050. This is clearly too little, too late, to respond to scientists’ calls for urgent action on climate change or to contribute towards the European Union’s 2020 emissions reduction targets.

The best way forward is to secure an EU emissions trading scheme that gives carbon a meaningful price; that way the industry will be stimulated to reduce its emissions, possibly by investing in CCS. This should be backed up with emissions performance standards to provide incentives to the cleanest technologies and put an end to the dirtiest fossil fuel power plants sooner rather than later.

CCS may yet have a role to play one day, but it is sure to be more expensive than more reliable options such as energy savings, energy efficiency and renewable energy, which are available now. Public funding must be focused on these safe bets, which promise immediate reductions in emissions and a massive employment boost at a time when both are urgently needed.

Jill Evans, Plaid Cymru
Kathalijne Buitenweg, GroenLinks
European Parliament

The authors are members of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament


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