Utility company leaders lobby for higher climate change targets

In a joint declaration released today in Brussels, six European energy industry CEOs called on the EU to adopt a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 25% by 2020.

“We urge European leaders to move beyond the 20% economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2020,” the declaration said. “This would contribute to a healthy and market driven EU investment climate for sustainable energy and put Europe back in the driving seat in the transition to a prosperous, low-carbon Europe.”

The signed declaration noted that recent international climate change negotiations didn’t have the result many had hoped for and which science indicates is required. It also noted that the focus on effective climate change policies and their importance for the EU’s energy system seems to have lost momentum.

The CEOs said they acknowledge the analysis in a draft communication from the European Commission that a move to 25% domestic reduction by 2020 represents the most cost-efficient pathway to the necessary reductions of 80-95% GHG emissions in 2050.

“The benefits of early action far outweigh the costs of inertia or delayed action,” the declaration said. “It is simply vital that the targets are both ambitious and unambiguous and provide a clear signal to Europe’s businesses and citizens.”

The CEOs also acknowledged that in early February, European Heads of State recognised that Europe needs a revolution in the region’s energy system.

“This will not happen if we don’t step up our ambition now. We therefore urge our leaders to deliver on their commitments, support that revolution and move beyond the 20% by 2020 target to a domestic target of at least 25%,” the declaration said.

“Tackling climate change should be a race to the top, not a case of settling for the lowest common denominator.”

The declaration was signed by Ian Marchant of Scottish and Southern Energy, Jeroen de Haas of Eneco, Anders Eldrup of DONG, Arthouros Zervos of Public Power Corporation, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen of Statkraft, and Massimo Orlandi of Sorgenia. Zervos is also President of the European Wind Energy Association.

By Chris Rose, blog.ewea.org/