CLIMATE CHANGE: EC leadership threatened by member states’ failures

A climate change report commends the EU for taking on an ambitious policy but warns that any failure by some member states to meet CO2 emission reduction targets could undermine the EU's international leadership role.

Published by the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO, based in Oslo, Norway, the report is timed to influence those who will be attending the fifth meeting of the contracting parties of the Kyoto Protocol in Bonn, Germany (COP 5).

The European Community and climate protection: What’s behind the ’empty rhetoric’?outlines how the EU climate change policy has become the world’s most ambitious policy, filling the vacuum created by “the defensive position of the United States”.

Despite the leadership offered by the EC, the report warns that “a significant gap between domestic and common policies” within the EU has developed. It is this gap that CICERO believes could prove the undoing of the EC’s climate change policy.

The international implications of a failure by the EU to achieve its CO2 reduction target are the report’s fundamental concerns. “The global climate process will be negatively affected if the EC fails to stabilise emissions. Conversely, by stablising emissions, the EC will set an example for others to follow and will increase its moral and symbolic power considerably,” the report’s author, Lasse Ringius, argues.

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