Speak Up Energy

A group of Eastern European countries, led by Hungary, have asked for a revision of their national targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia are questioning the reference year 2005 chosen by the Commission to calculate how each of the 27 EU member states will contribute to the EU’s promised 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions.

The 20% target, which has to be met by 2020, is to be achieved compared to 1990 levels, the reference year for the Kyoto Protocol. But the group of seven stresses that, by choosing 2005 as the reference year for the basis of its calculations, the Commission is favouring the richer older members of the EU over the Eastern newcomers.

Instead, they argue that the cuts they achieved since 1990 as a result of post-communist de-industrialisation should be better reflected in their national targets. They point out that, by 2005, Eastern states had already cut their emissions by 7.9%, and argue that the 2005 reference date is unfair.

Under the Commission’s proposed methodology, the biggest burden would fall on Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania. Instead, the proposal of the seven would put the burden on countries such as Luxembourg, Spain, Italy and Austria. As an alternative, the seven propose a uniform 18% reduction of emissions for all member countries.

The result almost exactly matches the goal proposed by the Commission – kt CO2 4.387.429 for all the 27 EU countries. The Commission’s main argument for choosing 2005 as the reference year is that the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) for greenhouse gases did not exist before that date and precise emissions data was therefore unavailable. Experts from Eastern European countries told they did not actually believe that a radical change of the Commission proposal is possible at this stage, but they sincerely hoped unfair treatment would become obvious and substantial corrections could be made.

A note of the Presidency dated 26 May already takes note of the proposal by the seven, but it does not give full details.

From EurActiv

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