Miliband calls on EU to back 30 per cent emissions cut

| 7th January 2010

The EU has not yet committed to a 30 per cent cut in emissions by 2020

The EU needs to commit to a 30 per cent reduction by 2020 compared with 1990 levels and push others to a higher level of ambition, says climate secretary

The UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband has called on the EU to raise its emissions reduction target from 20 to 30 per cent ahead of a crucial 31 January deadline.

Speaking to MPs in London about the Copenhagen climate conference, Miliband admitted that the outcome had been ‘disappointing’ but rejected another MP’s assertion that the summit had been a ‘flop’:

‘We are disappointed that Copenhagen did not establish a clear timetable for a legal treaty and that we do not yet have the commitments to cuts in emissions that we were looking for.’

He continued: ‘All leading developing countries have agreed to make specific commitments to tackling emissions, to be lodged in the agreement by 31 January.’

EU needs 30 per cent cut

According to Miliband, the EU needs to commit to a 30 per cent reduction by 2020 compared with 1990 levels and ‘push others to a higher level of ambition.’

Miliband's call was backed up by Friends of the Earth.

'We have seen too much brinkmanship from the EU,' said International Climate Change Campaigner Azad Rehmen. 'Now it’s time to show real leadership. Even the 20 per cent commitment is full of loop holes – it looks more like a four to seven per cent cut in real terms.’

Rehmen said that a strong commitment from the EU would help to unblock the logjam seen at Copenhagen.

‘The EU should make a unilateral commitment to cut emissions by 40 per cent without offsets. That is what the science says is necessary and research by the Stockholm Environment Institute has shown this to be eminiently achievable and realistic.’

EU opposition

However, Barbara Helfferich, Environment spokesperson for the European Commission said the EU was not yet committed to a 30 per cent cut.

‘We have a position in the EU of a 20 per cent cut unilaterally and then 30 per cent if equivalent efforts are made by developed countries,’ she said.

‘Targets set by other countries that have been floating around do not live up to the ambitious levels of the EU. Unless more ambitious targets are put forward on or before 31st January, our position will not change.’

The Copenhagen Accord stipulated that countries must submit emissions targets by 31st January 2010.



Ed Miliband: China tried to hijack Copenhagen climate deal
Climate secretary accuses China, Sudan, Bolivia and other leftwing Latin American countries of trying to hijack Copenhagen
Copenhagen fails to deliver deal on tackling climate change
The UN has failed to reach a unanimous deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing dangerous climate change at the talks in Copenhagen
Carbon emissions: the world in 2010
A post-Copenhagen look at where the carbon emissions are coming from and how that is projected to change over the coming decade
Politicians have failed, business is now our only hope
This blog is unlikely to win me many friends among readers of the Ecologist, but it needs to be said: after Copenhagen, we must accept that big business is just about the best hope we have left

More from this author


The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here