The European Union will come together next week to vote on a proposal to reduce carbon emissions, targeting a bloc-wide cut of 40 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. EU heads of state will descend on Brussels on Thursday and Friday, but ahead of that meeting, there are already signs of significant pushback. Polish Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski remarked that “if it is the initial proposal in its current shape, then Poland will have no choice and will have to veto it,” and, as the FT reports, a number of other countries may look to follow Poland’s lead:
[C]oal-dependent Poland and some of its neighbours argue that the EU’s proposals to compensate them for modernising their heavy industry do not go far enough. The opponents to the deal, led by Poland and the Czech Republic, but also including Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, are ready to walk away from the summit if they are not offered improved terms.“This may fail,” Rafal Trzaskowski, Poland’s European affairs minister, told the Financial Times. “We have our well-entrenched red lines . . . If they are not ready to take into consideration our apprehensions, then we will decide later this week or early next week not to deal with the issue at the summit.”
But the 30 percent GHG reduction target isn’t the only one in dispute. The EU Observer reports that, according to leaked draft conclusions from 22 of the EU’s member states, there remains significant disagreement over both energy efficiency and renewable energy targets, most pressingly on whether or not to make these targets mandatory:
At least seven mostly central and eastern European countries want [a 25 percent energy efficiency improvement target], while at least 12 agree with the draft conclusion’s 30 percent. Denmark wants the final text to say “at least 30 percent”. There is also disagreement on whether this efficiency target should be binding or “indicative”. Only six of the 22 leaked member states’ positions stated they wanted a binding target, but only at EU-level….A similar spectrum of opinions on the binding issue exists for the renewables target.
The hold-outs are, unsurprisingly, concentrated in central and eastern Europe, where heavy manufacturing and fossil fuel use remains critical for economic growth. The EU will try to buy these votes with emissions trading concessions and monetary compensation, but the bloc isn’t exactly flush at the moment, and balancing its green ambitions with economic realities will be tricky, to say the least.The EU is running up against the same kinds of problems that plague negotiations over the Global Climate Treaty. If the world’s most green-minded collection of countries can’t overcome these issues to set new targets, what does that say about the prospects of a GCT?