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Fears rise for EU climate pledges

Europeans Union governments plan to use the global financial crisis as an excuse to renege on some climate-change commitments, according to sources close to energy talks in Brussels. The Guardian reported that it had seen papers suggesting that the European Council wants to drop previous pledges on binding emissions cuts.  
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The council – the EU’s highest political body — reportedly wants to drop the previous pledge of an automatic escalation of emissions cuts if a new environmental package is agreed at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen next year. The council also intends to allow countries to purchase a large proportion of reductions from overseas to avoid having to cut their own emissions, the newspaper said.

 

The EU target of a 20% emissions cut by 2020 would rise to 30% if a global deal is signed in December 2009. But the recently reviewed documents indicate that the European Union would seek a new legislative process if the target rises above 20%. In effect, that process would stop the move to 30% and take many years to complete.

 

Environmentalists worry that the European Union is not serious about meeting emissions targets. “By simply buying cheap projects in developing countries,” said Tom Picken, head of international climate at Friends of the Earth, “the European Union will avoid making the type of transformations needed in our domestic economy to avoid dangerous climate change.”

 

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