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EU Will No Longer Commit To Unilateral CO2 Targets

Whether intended or not, this timing offers the EU the opportunity to make its future climate policy conditional on the moves by the world’s other regional powers. By linking its decision to that of the rest of the world, Europe would begin to act as a mature competitor on the stage of international power diplomacy. It would appear that the EU, at long last, is on the brink of breaking away from its unilateral and self-destroying climate policy. — Benny Peiser, Financial Post, 20 October 2008

Der Spiegel, 14 September 2010: EU will no longer commit to unilateral obligations to reduce CO2 emissions. The EU climate change commissioner sees especially the United States under an obligation to commit to binding reduction targets. Only then Europe would do the same.

Setting a good example – this strategy will no longer apply for Europe at international climate negotiations. Climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the EU will no longer unconditionally play the lead role in the haggling over CO2 reduction targets. “We will only accept new commitments if others accept commitments too,” Hedegaard said on Tuesday in Brussels.

Thus, the EU will not necessarily sign a new international climate agreement. In particular, the U.S. should commit to binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide, the Danish commissioner demanded. “It is not possible to persuade China, India or Brazil if the largest industrialized country is not contributing enough.”

Hedegaard – then as Danish Environment Minister – had organised the ultimately unsuccessful 2009 Copenhagen summit negotiations on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol that expires at the end of 2012. In Copenhagen, the EU countries had committed to CO2 reductions and pledged initial funding for climate protection projects in developing countries even before the negotiations started.

But at the Copenhagen summit the other key emitters – especially the U.S. and China – refused to follow the example of the EU and did not to commit to reduction targets to prevent global warming of more than two degrees Celsius. [transl. Philipp Mueller]

Full story (in German)