The European Union is set to attend the United Nations’ Climate Change Summit in September with no agreement between member countries on emissions reduction targets due to concerns over energy independence.
The situation has arisen, according to the European Voice (EV) website, because discussions were sidetracked by the crisis in Ukraine, with European nations fearing a reduction in their ability to produce their own energy.
A debate that was meant to set the stage for agreement on a new target instead became focused on reducing Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.
Last month, the European Commission put forward a proposal to set a 2030 target of 40% emissions reduction from 1990 levels. It wanted a quick agreement, by the June European Council at the latest, so that the EU could go to a UN summit in September with a pledge for a globally binding UN deal.
But today’s discussions were dominated by the issue of energy independence, and leaders who had pushed for early agreement emerged from the Council acknowledging that the plan for agreement in June is now impossible. “At the European level we are facing a tough discussion,” said Werner Faymann, the chancellor of Austria. “For that reason we’ve agreed to discuss in June and to set a line by October for next year’s [Paris] conference.”
Eastern European countries are said to be sceptical of the lead taken by the United Kingdom and others in setting carbon emissions targets for fear of becoming more beholden to Russian energy supplies.
Poland, for example, is said to be concerned that such targets will restrict its ability to lean on its own resources, instead having to import to meet its energy demands.
The EU had hoped to agree on a target by June in order to bind members at the UN summit in September. Now however, it looks like the UN summit will take place without a lead from the EU, with the organisation instead set to finalise its plans in October ready for a conference in Paris in 2015.
The UN summit’s tagline is ‘catalysing action’. It is set to take place in New York in September.