Steam rises from cooling towers at the RWE Niederaussem coal-fired power plant near Bergheim, Germany. Current EU proposals are 'not consistent with what was agreed in Paris'. Photo: Volker Hartmann / Getty Images

By Arthur Neslen
29 February 2016

BRUSSELS (Guardian) – The EU is set to emit 2bn tonnes more CO2 than it promised at the Paris climate talks, threatening an agreement to cap global warming at 2C, a note from the European commission has revealed.

Carbon prices will rise too slowly to cut industrial emissions as much as needed, says a confidential note prepared for MEPs on the environment committee, which the Guardian has seen.

Lawmakers say that the shortfall could spur criticism from other countries that signed up to the Paris agreement, which aims for net zero emissions later this century.

But a correction in the pace at which carbon allowances are removed from the market - to raise their prices - could spark anger from coal-dependent EU countries such as Poland, which believes its industry would be unfairly hit.

The EU was “caught between a rock and a hard place” said the Green MEP Bas Eickhout, who sits on the environment committee.

“The current proposals are not consistent with what was agreed in Paris and they are not even in line with what’s necessary to stay below 2C,” he told the Guardian. “What kind of signal is that sending our partners? These Emissions Trading System (ETS) numbers need to be changed now to make them consistent with the Paris agreement.”

Seb Dance, the Labour party’s environment spokesman, who also sits on the committee, said: “If we do not raise the level of ambition and move towards a greater linear reduction factor for the ETS, the UK and other EU countries will not meet the groundbreaking climate change targets agreed in Paris.” [more]

EU set to emit 2bn tonnes more CO2 than Paris climate pledge



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