Two steps forward, one step back? | WWF

Two steps forward, one step back?

Posted on
24 November 2016

EU must not undo its past progress on climate policy

By Imke Luebbeke, Head Climate & Energy Policy, WWF EU
Last week I was in the Moroccan sunshine at COP22, where the EU patted itself on the back for its climate leadership.


However, I would give the EU a mixed grade on climate policy at best. Sometimes it spoils its past good work by trying to please everybody - including those who don’t have the climate’s best interests at heart.


The next few weeks are a chance for the EU to improve its score. The European Commission will soon make climate and energy proposals for 2030. Getting these right is pivotal, not only to put the EU on track to stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2050, but also to allow us to reap the rewards of green jobs, clean air, better health and true climate leadership.


The EU used to be an international leader on climate change. But now, it is in the process of losing this leadership.


The EU was a world innovator with its Emissions Trading System - set up to make polluters pay. However, it weakened this system by doling out too many allowances - including free ones.  


The Commission must get rid of surplus allowances. It must get tougher on who gets free allowances. It must make the ETS work for the climate by putting a real price on pollution..


The EU was also a pioneer in setting binding climate and energy targets for 2020. However, the 2030 climate target proposal is too low, and full of loopholes. The loopholes must be resolved and the target increased to 55% emissions cuts.


The proposed energy efficiency target is too low - 40% rather than 30% by 2030 would create 2.6 million EU jobs.  


The EU must increase its ambition in all areas in order to live up to the commitments it made in Paris, and repeated last week in Marrakech.


Otherwise the EU will no longer be able to claim to be a model student.