All 28 EU environment ministers on Friday approved the EU’s intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) to achieve an at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030.
The INDC was largely expected as it mostly matched what EU leaders agreed to in October. Unlike Switzerland, which submitted the world’s first INDC last week, it contained no fresh demand for international credits.
“If there are additional commitments in the future, international credits could be used,” Europe’s climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told journalists in a webstreamed press briefing in Brussels.
Environmental campaigners Carbon Market Watch welcomed the domestic approach but noted that plans to link the EU ETS to the Swiss carbon market would need to account for Switzerland’s increased use of offsets.
“The potential linkage of the Swiss and EU carbon markets will need to be coupled with an increase in the EU’s 2030 climate target,” said Femke de Jong, Carbon Market Watch Policy Officer, in a statement.
LONG TERM PATH
The European Commission said that the INDC puts the EU “on a cost-effective pathway towards long term domestic emission reductions of 80%” by 2050. It said the goal put the bloc on track for a 60% cut v 2010 levels by 2050, which was “at the upper end” of the IPCC’s range of 40-70% emission reductions necessary worldwide to limit global temperature to 2C.
“I am proud that the EU is able to submit this ambitious and timely contribution. It is our fair share of what has to be done to achieve the internationally agreed below 2C target. I now call on all our partners, especially major and emerging economies, to come forward in time and at least match our level of ambition. In Paris, we will have a real opportunity to conclude an agreement that will help the world avoid dangerous climate change. The EU is committed to agreeing an ambitious Protocol that will address emissions reductions, facilitate adaptation to climate change impacts and provide support from those countries in a position to do so to implement climate action in countries that need it,” Arias Canete said in a statement.
The INDC was altered from a draft version that included land use in the 2030 goal- a move criticised by green groups and the UK’s climate minister Ed Davey for potentially being able to weaken emission reduction efforts in non-ETS sectors such as transport, waste and buildings.
Instead, the final INDC postponed a decision on how to account for land use emissions, vowing to establish a policy before 2020 “as soon as technical conditions allow”.
“The EU has been very clear: no backsliding from current commitments. That also holds for land use, land use change and forestry in the EU,” Arias Canete told RTCC.
Carbon Market Watch said the move missed an opportunity for the EU to influence standards in other countries.
“By avoiding a decision to treat emissions and removals from the land use sector separately and on top of the EU’s ‘at least’ 40% domestic target, the EU wastes important political capital to set incentives for other countries to be transparent on the amount of emission reductions they will achieve” said Carbon Market Watch Director Eva Filzmoser.
The low-key approach to carbon market expansion in the EU’s INDC has disappointed industry group IETA by failing to set out an explicit vision for how markets could form part of the Paris deal.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org