Europe Must Commit to at Least 40% Reductions by 2020 Without Offsetting

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Francesca Gater, communications officer for Friends of the Earth Europe,
+45 298 42677 (Danish mobile) or +32 4 85 930 515 Belgian mobile),
francesca.gater@foeeurope.org

Job van den Assen, Young Friends of the Earth, +45 617 27404,
job@jma.org 

Europe Must Commit to at Least 40% Reductions by 2020 Without Offsetting

COPENHAGEN - Copenhagen/Brussels, December 10, 2009 – Europe must commit to at least
40% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 without offsetting,
Friends of the Earth International urged ahead of a meeting of European
Heads of State happening in parallel to the UN climate negotiations in
Copenhagen.

The meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday 10 and
Friday 11 December will discuss climate change and emissions targets for
the EU with serious implications for the ongoing international talks.

The European Union has to date committed to 20% emission cut by 2020,
and pledged to increase this to 30% conditional on the commitments made
by other countries. Both targets are inadequate, include huge amounts of
ineffective tricks such as offsetting, and would not enable a just
solution to the climate crisis.

European governments still have not solved discussions on how to count
emissions from forests and how to treat the so called ’hot air’ surplus
emission credits which could massively impact on the EU targets.

*Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International,* said:
“African countries are among the most affected by climate change but
have contributed the least to it. We Africans demand at least 40%
emissions cuts without offsetting in Europe, and in all other developed
countries which have got rich emitting the gases at the root of the
problem.“

*Sonja Meister, **climate campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth
Europe, said:* “Europe must up its commitment and agree to at least 40%
emissions reductions by 2020 at home. At the same time European
governments must close all the loopholes which would make the targets
meaningless. Achieving at least 40% cuts within Europe by 2020 is
technically and economically feasible - there are no excuses for
governments not to act now.”

“Young Friends of the Earth is saying ‘up yours’ to the EU about its
targets. To prevent dangerous climate change Europe must take ambitious
action on both emission cuts and climate finance for the most vulnerable
people in the world and for future generations. Real solutions to the
climate crisis exist – false solutions like carbon offsetting must be
rejected,” says *Young **Friends** of the Earth **campaigner** Job van
den Assem.*

A study produced by Stockholm Environment Institute in partnership with
Friends of the Earth Europe shows for that at least 40% emission cuts
within Europe by 2020 are feasible and affordable [1].

This is the minimum scale and speed of reductions science says is
necessary from rich countries to avert the worst impacts of climate
change, and is the kind of deep cuts needed if industrialised countries
are to repay their climate debt and make a just and effective global
climate agreement possible.

Friends of the Earth International also demands that the EU makes a
strong financial commitment to pay its fair share of the finances needed
by developing countries for mitigation, technology and adaptation. This
needs to be new, public money additional to existing development aid.
Short-term commitments alone will not satisfy developing country
negotiators in Copenhagen. Long-term predictable financing is needed to
enable those countries least responsible for climate change but hit
hardest by its consequences to adapt and to develop cleanly.

The money must be administered by the UNFCCC in a central fund, the
world’s largest grassroots environmental network said. Any funding
outside of the UN, including the World Bank’s climate investment funds,
and any financial transfers made as part of offsetting schemes should
not count as fulfilment of developed country commitments.

So far EU leaders have failed to put a firm financial offer on the table
though developing countries are already suffering the effects of climate
change.

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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