EU cli­mate ef­forts in doubt as bloc set to miss 2030 goal

Orlando Sentinel - - NATIONAL & WORLD - By Aritz Parra and Frank Jor­dans

MADRID — The Euro­pean Union said Wed­nes­day that it will likely miss its target for re­duc­ing green­house gases by 2030, deal­ing a blow to the bloc’s ef­forts to be a leader in the fight against cli­mate change.

The Euro­pean En­vi­ron­ment Agency said ex­ist­ing mea­sures put the EU on course to cut its emis­sions of car­bon diox­ide and other planet-warm­ing pol­lu­tants by 30% in the next decade com­pared with 1990 lev­els.

The 28-na­tion bloc is aim­ing for a re­duc­tion of 40% by 2030, and some lead­ers have called for this target to be raised to 55%, with a long-term goal of end­ing vir­tu­ally all new emis­sions by 2050.

“Re­cent trends high­light a slow­ing down of progress in ar­eas such as re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions, in­dus­trial emis­sions, waste generation, im­prov­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and the share of re­new­able en­ergy,” the agency said in a re­port. “Looking ahead, the cur­rent rate of progress will not be enough to meet 2030 and 2050 cli­mate and en­ergy tar­gets.”

The re­port was re­leased as of­fi­cials from al­most 200 coun­tries meet in Madrid for U.N. cli­mate talks. The EU’s new ex­ec­u­tive Com­mis­sion is ex­pected to present its long-term plan for tack­ling global warm­ing — dubbed the Euro­pean Green Deal — next week.

Environmen­tal cam­paign­ers said the EU should step up its ef­forts to en­sure that the aim of the 2015 Paris cli­mate ac­cord of keep­ing global warm­ing at 2.7 Fahren­heit by the end of the cen­tury re­mains pos­si­ble.

“Cur­rent EU lead­ers are the last generation that can pre­vent the cli­mate break­down,” said Wen­del Trio, di­rec­tor of the cam­paign group Cli­mate Ac­tion Net­work Europe.

Trio noted that the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment re­cently de­clared a sym­bolic “cli­mate emer­gency.”

“Cit­i­zens want them to act now, and not in 30 years,” he said.

The Euro­pean En­vi­ron­ment Agency re­port said that “there is still a chance to meet the longer-term goals and ob­jec­tives for 2030 and 2050” if coun­tries ratchet up their ef­forts, adding that this will re­quire tack­ling po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive is­sues such as fos­sil fuel sub­si­dies.

A sep­a­rate study pub­lished Wed­nes­day by a group of in­ter­na­tional scientists found that both the Euro­pean Union and the United States saw emis­sions drop 1.7% from 2018 to 2019, but China saw a 2.6% in­crease and In­dia had a 1.8% rise.

Swedish ac­tivist Greta Thun­berg said the study showed that “in­stead of the dras­tic re­duc­tions des­per­ately needed, our CO2 emis­sions keep in­creas­ing.”

“We’re still mov­ing fast in the wrong di­rec­tion,” Thun­berg said in a tweet.

Thun­berg is ex­pected to travel to Madrid for a mass protest on Fri­day out­side the cli­mate talks.

Un­der the slo­gan “The world has awak­ened to the cli­mate emer­gency,” the rally is ex­pected to gather “at least 100,000” protesters from all over the world, in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Latin Amer­ica’s indige­nous peo­ple at the front of it, ac­tivists said on Wed­nes­day.

On Wed­nes­day, some 40 Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion ac­tivists broke into a fash­ion store in a ma­jor shop­ping thor­ough­fare, glu­ing their hands to the win­dows to protest the im­pact of the gar­ment in­dus­try on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Po­lice re­moved the protesters.

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