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EU May Never Achieve Its Paris CO2 Pledges

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Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg

The European Union risks missing its climate goals for the coming decades unless it strengthens CO2-reduction policies, according to the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.

Despite significant progress in cutting carbon dioxide and improvement in energy efficiency, the EU may miss its target of cutting emissions by at least 40 percent by the end of the next decade and by at least 80 percent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels, the Paris-based institute, or IDDRI, said in a report on Tuesday.

“The rate of change is insufficient,” according to the report. “Too much of the change in aggregate emissions has been driven by cyclical effects” like the financial crisis and the bloc hasn’t adequately formulated options for industrial “long-term decarbonization.”

The 28-nation EU has sought to lead the global fight against climate change, which scientist (sic) blame for more frequent heatwaves, hurricanes and floods. The bloc submitted its 2030 target as a contribution to the United Nations’ climate deal that was agreed in December in Paris and entered into force earlier this month.

EU policy makers are currently debating draft measures on sharing the burden of emissions cuts among member states and on reforming the bloc’s Emissions Trading System to translate climate objectives for the next decade into specific rules. In order to put the region on track to meet the goals, those laws should be adopted “in the strongest possible form,” IDDRI said.

“The EU ETS desperately needs be strengthened to avoid the risk of low and ineffective carbon prices persisting well in the late 2020s,” according to the report.

The price of EU emission allowances slumped about 80 percent in the past eight years amid a surplus of permits aggravated by the economic crisis. The benchmark contract traded at 6.27 euros ($6.92) a metric ton on Monday. Before the system started in 2005, some policy makers expected the cost of discharging a ton of greenhouse gas to cost as much as 30 euros.

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