Is the EU refocusing its climate change policy?

Posted on October 9th, 2013 by Shelley Welton

Teresa Parejo
Visiting Scholar at the CCCL
Associate Professor of Law at Carlos III University (Madrid, Spain)

The EU has a clear framework for its climate policy until the year 2020, based on the 20-20-20 targets (20% reduction of GHG emissions from 1990 levels; raising the share of the EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%; and a 20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency). The Green Paper titled “A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies” was adopted by the European Commission in March 2013. It launched a public consultation on what the 2030 framework should contain, the results of which EU leaders plan to discuss at their regular summit in March 2014. At this point, there are different views on what the first priority for the future climate change policy should be: some emphasize the sustainability, others the competitiveness, of the EU energy market. In this respect, the Vice President of the EU Commission and current European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepeneurship, Mr. Antonio Tajani, recently suggested that if there is not a global agreement on climate change targets, the EU should not go forward alone. On the other hand, Ms. Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Change Action, represents the opposite vision. Although aware of the gravity of the economic situation, she thinks the renewable energy sector is a source of wealth and can create new jobs.

It is clear that, unfortunately like most things in life, climate change is no longer only an environmental issue but one implicating industry, energy and politics. But if we do not save our planet, nothing else will matter any more.

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