EU leaders are describing it as the world’s most ambitious climate change targets for 2030. The 28 leaders making up the EU bloc agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% compared to 1990 levels.
EU member countries also agreed to 27% boosts to renewable energy supply, and a 27% boost to energy efficiency. Though there were some countries who balked at the cost of these measures.
Poland, in particular, has a heavy reliance on coal. The country fears the cost of moving away from coal will slow business growth. Poland’s concerns were shared by many central and eastern EU members. Poland’s use of coal makes them less reliant on natural gas out of Russia, which Russia has been using as a political weapon.
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, assuaged these fears by promising additional funds for poorer EU members in order to reach the agreed targets.
For a time, it looked like a deal wouldn’t happen. But talks stretching into the night proved fruitful. “Deal!” proclaimed Van Rompuy in a tweet. “At least 40% emissions cut by 2030. World’s most ambitious, cost-effective, fair #EU2030 climate energy policy agreed.”
The headline numbers sound impressive, but falls short of expectations.
Even Europe acknowledges the need to cut emissions by more than 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. But, like most things, the needs of the economy trump the needs of everything else. It’s no secret. Europe’s economy continues to struggle years after the 2007-2008 recession.
Throw in the crisis in Ukraine and unrest in the Middle East, and Europe needs to find alternative sources for energy. One source could be nuclear, but after the Fukushima disaster, countries are hesitant to adopt the energy source. Countries that already did are ditching it.