As the [Bonn Climate Conference]( “Bonn Climate Conference”) continues this week, new analysis from Sandbag estimates that Europe’s 2012 emissions fell 27% below 1990 levels once offsets surrendered into the EU ETS are factored in. This threatens to render Europe’s current pledge to reduce emissions 20% by 2020 irrelevant.[1] [2]
Sandbag notes, that the EU has committed itself to avoiding 2 degrees of global warming against pre-industrial levels both internally and under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord,[3] but the latest Emissions Gap report from the United Nations Environment Program finds that current emissions reductions pledges for 2020 fall short by as much as 13 billion tonnes from where they need to be to have a “likely” chance (>66%) of avoiding two degrees of global warming under a cost-effective global trajectory.
Europe currently accounts for 10% of annual greenhouse gas emissions,[4] and should be aiming to close its fair share of the remaining emissions gap. It would close around 4% of that global 13 billion tonne global gap by upping its 2020 targets to 30% below 1990 levels, a target that we show is already within Europe’s grasp.
This means Europe’s current targets allow it to go backwards on climate change for the better part of the next decade, and risk damaging Europe’s credibility at precisely the time it seeks to encourage other UNFCCC parties to adopt ambitious climate goals ahead of the 2015 Conference of the Parties. The Paris Conference represents our last opportunity to reach a climate deal sufficient to avoid dangerous climate change. Sandbag are therefore urging European policymakers to adopt a more ambitious emissions target ahead of the review of Kyoto pledges in 2014.
[1] 2012 estimated emissions apply Eurostat forecasts for 2012 emissions reductions to 2011 emissions data published by the European Environment Agency (both published on May 29, 2013).
[2] ETS data taken from the EU Transaction Log as of May 15, 2013
[3] The 2 degree target was first adopted by the Council in 1996.
[4] According to UNEP’s Emissions Gap report greenhouse gas emissions reached 49 Gt in 2010. Europe’s net emissions in 2010 were 4.7 Gt including bunker fuels and land use.