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Friday 22 August 2014

EU greenhouse gas plans ‘lack ambition’

Paul Melia

Published 22/01/2014 | 12:45

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EU plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help prevent dangerous climate change have been criticised for lacking ambition.

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The European Commission today proposed cutting greenhouse gas emissions from industry, agriculture and transport by 40pc by 2030, but experts have warned the cuts are not high enough to prevent a 2C global rise in temperatures.

Charity Christian Aid described the cuts as “weak”, and said they failed to push European countries far enough.

‘We are already starting to see the significant impacts of climate change in Ireland and around the world,” spokesman Sorley McCaughey said.

“Irish climate scientists have pointed to the recent storms as being a taste of what we can expect as a result of a warming globe.

‘With communities in the Philippines still reeling from the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan and parts of Africa still suffering from drought, the need for political leaders in Ireland and across Europe to show far greater leadership and take the kind of action that reflects the seriousness of the situation is urgent.”

The measures, which have to be approved by EU leaders in the summer, require member states to cut emissions by 40pc by 2030, an increase of the 20pc cut planned by 2020 already in force.

In addition, some 27pc of  energy will have to be produced from renewable sources including wind and ocean energy, but while the targets will be binding at EU level, there will be no mandatory target for member states.

EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, defended the proposals, saying there were ambitious. She added that environmental groups criticising the package “pretended to give answers”, but didn’t have to implement them.

Greenpeace called on EU governments to negotiate a tougher package of measures during a series of meetings planned from March.

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