Thursday, December 10, 2009

The "generosity" of the EU

With the EU claiming the crown of global environmental leadership, the greenie blog on the New York Times is taking a sniffy look at quite how much the "colleagues" have on offer.

Not much, according to a number of campaign groups, says the greenie blog. There are "three big loopholes" in the current EU goal of reducing emissions by 20 percent.

First, the EU could use excess carbon credits granted to some Eastern and Central European countries under the Kyoto Protocol. Those represent unearned emissions cuts from the collapse of communist-era industry.

Second, the EU is promoting methods to account for emissions from land-use, land-use change and forestry that also make it too easy for the bloc to meet its current target. And thirdly, the EU is buying carbon credits from international projects that substantially reduce the amount of reductions in emissions it would otherwise have to make domestically.

Thus, the present offer actually means slowing down the current pace of emission reductions in Europe, we are told. The EU ends up with less on the table than the United States. Its offer to cut emissions by 17 percent by the end of the next decade, compared with 2005 levels, represents a bigger commitment.

What you see, it seems, it not always what you get – but then it was ever thus. Funny how the US is the bad guy though - even if the EU is getting a little bit of flak.