The EU has decided to put off making a decision on the region’s 2030 climate and energy policy package until October, angering environmental groups.
Leaders of member states convened in Brussels this week to discuss a 2030 40% carbon emissions reduction target, recommended by the European Commission.
State leaders also considered a binding target that would see 27% of energy generated from renewables and a non-binding target to improve energy efficiency by 25% across the 28 member states.
An agreement was pushed back to October as member states were at loggerheads over whether the targets were too fair.
Despite reaching a temporary stalemate, the EU’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said Europe’s 2030 emissions target will be “fully in line with our agreed 2050 objectives”.
“Today EU leaders showed that the way to greater energy independence goes through ambitious climate policies. These aims can and must go hand-in-hand. With the Commission’s proposal as the base, Europe is now moving forward towards agreeing on the whole package by October,” she added.
However, environmental groups were less enthusiastic.
“By failing to make clear decisions today, EU leaders have put themselves in the back seat of global climate negotiations,” says Tony Long, director of WWF European Policy Office.
“They ignored calls from their citizens for greater climate action and are delaying Europe’s needed transition towards an industrial and economic revolution that will provide for both people and the planet.
“Once again, our leaders downgraded climate and energy discussions to the bottom of the agenda. It seems they are incapable of addressing both immediate and longer term issues in one meeting. This approach may lead us to find soon that “we’ll do it later” has become “we are too late”.
In contrast, the European Wind and Energy Association (EWEA) said Europe’s leaders have “spurred confidence” about the future of renewable energy despite stalling over 2030 targets.
In a last minute addition to the European Council’s conclusions, leaders stated the need for a “supportive EU framework for advancing renewable energies”.
“This extra time could be a golden opportunity for pro-renewables countries like Germany, Denmark and Portugal to rally round and start fighting for greater ambition for renewables and the energy security they bring,” says EWEA CEO Thomas Becker.