Europe's plans to meet Kyoto targets not on track
31 March is the deadline for all 15 EU member states to submit their National Allocation Plans (NAPs) for CO2 emissions to the European Commission as part of the Emissions Trading Directive, scheduled to start in January 2005. This directive is a key mechanism for the EU to meet its Kyoto Protocol obligations to fight global warning.
However, WWF is concerned that many of these plans have been severely weakened due to government inaction and powerful industry pressure. It believes that EU governments have dragged their feet and done little or nothing to cut emissions. Furthermore, in some instances, they have allowed big increases in CO2 emissions rather than cuts.
"If govenments fail to set credible targets now, emissions will continue to rise and they will have to slash these even harder during the next phase of Kyoto emissions trading in 2008," said Dr Stephan Singer, Head of Climate and Energy Policy at WWF's European Policy Office. "This makes no sense environmentally or economically — in many instances it is the taxpayer that will pick up the bill for the extra costs."
WWF is particularly concerned that Germany, which claims to be a champion on climate change, has bowed to pressure from an industry rooted in the outdated practices of the 19th century. Its plan, agreed this morning, asks big polluters to cut their CO2 emissions by a mere 2 per cent by 2012. WWF also fears that the government will allow all new power stations to emit very high levels of CO2.
"This is a surrender before the coal lobby," said Dr Singer. "Germany has turned from a climate policy leader to one which openly supports new coal-fired power stations at the expense of cleaner energies."
Lobbying by industry has also seriously weakened the National Allocation Plans of Finland and France. Greece, Spain, and Italy have yet to produce plans and WWF fears they may miss the deadline. WWF believes that in particular Italy may publish a plan which will be bad for climate protection. Draft plans from Austria, Ireland, Denmark, and the Netherlands show emissions rising rather than falling below current levels.
For further information:
Press Officer, WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 2 7400925
Head of Climate and Energy Policy, WWF European Policy Office
Mobile: +32 4 96 550 709