“Lot of work” to shift EU goal to 1.5C, though ETS cap off-course regardless, MEPs told

Published 20:09 on February 15, 2016  /  Last updated at 21:54 on February 15, 2016  /  Climate Talks, EMEA, EU ETS, International  /  No Comments

The European Commission could not easily alter the EU’s 2030 GHG target to fit deeper global aspirations, and the bloc's executive already knows that proposed reforms to the EU ETS won’t keep pace with current UN obligations regarding worldwide temperature limits.

The European Commission could not easily alter the EU’s 2030 GHG target to fit deeper global aspirations, and the bloc’s executive already knows that proposed reforms to the EU ETS won’t keep pace with current UN obligations regarding worldwide temperature limits.

This is according to a written response by Commission officials to MEPs on European Parliament’s environment committee and seen by Carbon Pulse.

The guidance suggests that the Commission is unlikely to set out a detailed path for EU leaders to deepen the bloc’s 2030 40% GHG cut goal next month, but it could provide some ammunition to MEPs seeking to carve out more climate ambition in other ways.

The committee’s MEPs will meet on Thursday for their first public hearing on the Commission’s proposed post-2020 EU ETS reforms, an early stage in a legislative process likely to take at least another year.

HEAVY WEATHER TO 1.5C

The Commission note responded to MEPs asking how the EU ETS linear reduction factor (LRF) would be affected by the 1.5C aspirational target in the Paris Agreement, a surprise feature of the December UN climate deal that also contains the binding goal to limit global temperatures to 2C.

It re-affirmed that the Commission will set out the implications of Paris ahead of the March 17-18 European Council meeting where EU leaders will review the bloc’s 2030 energy and climate goals.

However, it stressed that the proposed LRF consistent with a 2C global goal “is the result of a lot of analytical work” going right back to its 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap produced in 2011.

To identify the LRF consistent with 1.5C, “all this work would have to be redone first.”

Read our analysis on why EU leaders are unlikely to budge on the 2030 GHG goal

ETS OFF COURSE

The Commission note also responded to MEP questions over how the EU executive’s proposed deepening of the LRF to 2.2% over 2021-2030 would put the bloc on course to meet its 2050 GHG goal of cutting by at least 80% below 1990 levels.

It said that under the Commission’s 2050 Roadmap, ETS emissions were projected to be cut by 90% on average in order to move towards a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050.

“In the long term, this linear reduction factor of 2.2% per year would not decrease the ETS cap by 2050 to -90% compared to 2005, but rather to -84%.”

To reach the 90% level, the LRF “would need to further increase to 2.4% until 2050”, the Commission added.

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

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