EU ‘Backtracks’ On CO2 Targets In UN Accounting Fudge
Responding to Climate Change 24 February 2015
Europe’s proposed new climate goals could be weaker than previously announced due to its method of accounting for changes in land use.
Last October the bloc agreed to target greenhouse gas cuts of 40% on 1990 levels by 2030, a rise on its 20% goal for 2020.
But in a leaked document outlining the European Commission’s plans for curbing carbon pollution, the 40% goal now includes land use, land use change and forestry accounting.
This means the growth of existing forests could be used towards EU targets, which analysts say could mean the 40% drops to 35% in reality.
Niklas Höhne, an analyst at the NewClimate Institute, told RTCC this would place less pressure on other sectors such as energy and transport to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Forests grow and sequester more and more carbon without an additional intervention… they allow in the end accounting for reductions without any additional action,” he said.
Farmlands, wetlands and forests cover 90% of the EU’s land mass, and are currently regarded as a carbon sink, sucking and storing carbon from the atmosphere. […]
“Given that heads of states agreed to “at least” 40%, including the land use sector would not be in line with the political decision that has already been taken,” said Eva Filzmoser from the Carbon Market Watch NGO.
“It would also be seen as ‘backsliding’ from the originally presented 40% target and would set the EU off on a bad start towards agreeing on an ambitious international climate treaty in Paris in December 2015.”