Thursday, 9 January 2014

Target fatigue

The EU's attitude toward targets has changed dramatically over the past five years.

Back in the heady days of 2008, before the European Union was plunged into a period of crisis around both its currency and its legitimacy, setting hard targets for solving the climate change problem was all the rage. Flash forward to 2014 and the world is a very different place.

The European Commission is planning to come forward later this month with a proposal to set new climate targets for 2030. These would follow the '20-20-20' package set in 2008: 20% emissions reduction based on 1990 levels, 20% share of renewable energy and 20% increase in energy efficiency. The first two targets were binding, while the third was indicative.

For 2030, the Commission is going to try a different tact. The emissions target strategy will remain roughly the same – a binding target increased to 40% for 2030 (though this is still subject to some internal wrangling in the Commission). But for the renewable energy target, there is likely to be a shift in strategy. The draft proposal being submitted for review within the Commission tomorrow will make the 2030 target non-binding, without individual legally-enforceable targets for member states.