Four eastern members block EU 2050 carbon-neutral plan

Thursday, June 27, 2019

EU member states in Central Europe are wary of ambitious EU plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Impacts

  • The EU has missed the diplomatic coup of going to the UN Climate Action summit in September with an ambitious 2050 target.
  • It will still try to strengthen its climate goals, driven by a popular mood shift and the increased Green vote in the May European election.
  • Expected to miss its goal of achieving 15% of energy consumption from renewables by 2020, Warsaw now plans more green capacity in 2019.
  • Slovakia, which depends less on coal than Poland, will boost its EU status by standing apart from the other three Central European members.

Conclusion

After four hours of heated debate, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland early on June 21 blocked an EU summit declaration for the Union to become carbon-neutral by 2050. The summit instead noted that it was a goal for “a large majority of member states”.

CO2 emissions from all sources declined across the EU by 15.3% between 2008 and 2017, but rose by 16.7% in Estonia (which relies on indigenous oil shale) and by 2.9% in Poland (coal). The four hold-outs want guaranteed compensation for the costs of switching from fossil fuels.

References

See PROSPECTS 2019-23: Climate governance - December 4, 2018

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