You may have seen the news floating around the cleantech web that the UK has committed to cutting its greenhouse gases 50% by 2025. Great news! But the commitment does come with some conditions — most importantly, it will only commit to this binding target if the EU as a whole does as well.
UK’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions, Binding 2050 Target, & New 2025 Target
While the UK has cut its emissions on 1990 levels by 25%, it’s long-term legally binding target is 80% by 2050.
The new commitment, which comes after careful consideration and consultation, has been widely embraced by green experts and enthusiasts. “This is an outstanding example of strong willingness to act despite difficult economic times,” said Connie Hedegaard, the head of climate action at the European Commission.
Of course, beyond helping the world, this higher target will help the UK become a stronger economic force as the cleantech industry becomes a more and more important sector of the global economy.
“With this decision, the UK seizes a huge economic and innovation opportunity that will make its economy more competitive in the future,” Hedegaard said.
“By making this commitment, we will position the UK a leading player in the global low-carbon economy, creating significant new industries and jobs,” UK Prime Minister David Cameron similarly said.
Will the EU Hold Up the UK? Will China & the US Hold Up the EU?
Now, as mentioned at the top, the UK has committed to these new targets under the condition that the EU do the same. There are several Western and Central European countries pushing the EU to up its commitment, but that is being held up by other Central and Eastern European countries (most notably, Poland — my current residence).
And the EU as a whole, in UN negotiations, has asserted that it will not up its targets unless other countries (most notably, the US and China) sign on to a new international climate deal following Kyoto in 2012, but that is deemed highly unlikely.
“We will review progress in EU climate negotiations in early 2014,” the UK government said on making this recent announcement. And if the EU is not making adequately similar progress in cutting emissions, the UK has reserved the right to reduce its target.
Does the UK’s Conditional Target Make it Useless?
Now, a legally binding increased target, 50% emissions by 2025, that is conditional is clearly a little weaker than a non-conditional target. And the result is the target doesn’t serve one of its key purposes, instilling business confidence and cleantech certainty.
“The inclusion of a get-out clause, in case Europe doesn’t cut emissions fast enough, creates needless uncertainty that could dent business confidence,” Friends of the Earth said.
True. On the other hand, though, this announcement could stimulate more action within the EU or even worldwide. Thus, it could help to increase cleantech growth and business confidence on an even grander scale. And, at the least, it should do a bit to more quickly drive such things within its borders.
More UK Stories:
- New “Wave Energy” Fund in UK
- “Local Energy Revolution” in the UK?
- Liquid Air Tested to Store Renewable Energy in UK
- New Giant Offshore Wind Farm, Humber Gateway, Moves Forward in UK
- How Denmark Will Integrate 50% Wind Power by 2025
Photo via jimmedia
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