Many countries support raised EU climate target – minister
17 July 2020 | Trading
A wide range of countries support raising the EU’s 2030 climate target, though some remain sceptical, German environment minister Svenja Schulze said on Tuesday.
“Many colleagues indicated that they see the corridor of [a] reduction target between 50-55% as a reasonable range,” Schulze told a press conference following the informal talks with her European counterparts.
“A number of member states expressed the view that the new target should be even more ambitious, but some felt already the 50-55% difficult to achieve.”
Eastern European countries remain particularly wary of the European Commission’s proposal to raise the EU’s emissions-reduction target to a 50-55% cut from 1990 levels by the end of the decade.
“There is still a debate between the environment ministers about the target, and that is normal because that is the first discussion we have had,” Schulze said.
The EU currently aims to cut emissions by 40%, which is incompatible with the Paris climate agreement goal to limit global warming to well below 2C this century. Countries around the world are supposed to submit updated targets this year.
Germany, which has just taken over the reins of the EU’s rotating six-month presidency, aims to find a common position across the EU by year-end. Though Berlin backs a more ambitious target, it has so far refused to spell out its own position.
Schulze said she hoped to persuade sceptical member states of the importance of a higher target as well as the potential for financial assistance to reach the goal under the commission’s proposed Just Transition Mechanism.
Official meetings between European environment ministers are scheduled for 23 October and 17 December. Schulze said she also invited counterparts to two informal meetings on 1 October and 30 December.
The European Commission plans to release an impact assessment in September on the consequence of its proposals.
Possible price support
The move towards a tighter climate policy that aligns with a long-term goal to become carbon neutral has been cited as a possible reason for the recent spike in carbon prices.
The benchmark contract has doubled since hitting a trough in March, despite ongoing demand destruction from the coronavirus. EUAs were last seen down EUR 0.07 at EUR 29.28/t.
Commenting on the rapid gains, Schulze said investors and industry alike were “aware about the discussion that we have to enhance our [target].”
“They expect we will do more than we have agreed until now.”