EU leaders agree climate deal

The EU Council has agreed on a package of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 - a deal which will be put to a final vote in the Parliament this week.

The figure, which is based on 1990 levels, would be increased to 30% when an international climate agreement is reached.

EU members will also have to produce 20% of all energy from renewable sources in twelve years’ time under the measures agreed by the Council in Brussels on Friday.

But climate campaigners slammed the proposal to use billions of euros of revenue from the sale of EU Emission Trading Scheme allowances to part-fund up to 12 coal-fired power stations to demonstrate Carbon Capture and Storage.

Greenpeace accused EU leaders of bowing to pressure from big business and “subsidising climate change”.

Joris den Blanken, Greenpeace EU campaigner, said: “At the same time as Al Gore cheered protests against coal-fired power stations, EU leaders went ahead and agreed a deal which could see big coal giants like RWE and E.ON build new ones on state aid in countries like the UK and Germany.”

The organisations said the package would mean about two thirds of EU emissions would be covered by credits obtained from projects outside the EU.

Business organisations welcomed the proposals. In the UK, the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) director-general, Richard Lambert, said: “By setting a price for carbon up to 2020, the deal means it will make business sense to invest in carbon reduction.

“Extending the auctioning of carbon permits to more firms will also incentivise low carbon investment, but EU leaders have been unnecessarily cautious here.”

The measures were debated in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday and will be put to a final vote on Wednesday.

Kate Martin

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