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Is the European Commission walking away from its 2°C global warming promise?



[Brussels, 22 January 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE] – CAN Europe [1] is deeply disappointed with what promises to be an unambitious white paper from the European Commission on the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework, which will be released today in Brussels. If its ambition is not raised, this paper could lock the EU into such a low level of climate action it would make keeping the EU's international pledge to stay below 2 degrees of global warming all but unattainable. [2]


"This proposal is not in line with science or even the Commission's own analyses of the multiple benefits of swift

climate action," said Wendel Trio of CAN Europe. [3] "In order to keep its international climate pledges, the EU

must adopt three ambitious, binding targets for greenhouse gas reductions, renewable energy and energy savings.

Sadly, such ambition is lacking in this paper."


The White Paper represents a significant ratcheting down of Commission President Barroso's past aspirations for EU climate policy. Before the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, Barroso said the "most important issue" was to have binding targets from developed countries. [4]


"As climate impacts increase, globally and here in Europe, it is unthinkable to decrease EU climate ambition," Trio

continued. "Furthermore, a weak or voluntary renewables target will not provide the investor certainty we need to

kick-start the green economy, create jobs and reduce the cost of decarbonisation."


Today NGOs sounded the alarm in front of the Berlaymont building in Brussels, sending out a Climate SOS to European leaders to put the EU's climate policy back on course. [5] We call on heads of state and government to re-inject this proposal with the ambition needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. CAN Europe is calling for binding EU-wide targets of at least 55% greenhouse gas reductions, 45% renewable energy share and 40% energy savings.



Vanessa Bulkacz, CAN Europe Communications Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +32 494 525 738

Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +32 473 170 887

Julia Huscher, Coal and Health Officer, HEAL, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +32 2 234 36 46

Lucy Mathieson, Communications and Campaigns Officer, HEAL, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +32 2 234 36 47



1- Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is a coalition of more than 120 NGOs in over 25 European countries

working to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.

2- A -40% GHG target is based on IPCC's 2007 report, which assumed both a peak in global emissions by 2015

and for global emissions to drop to 44 GtCO2-e by 2020. Neither will happen - UNEP estimates emissions

to be at 52 GtCO2-e at best. Therefore, to stay below 2 degrees, UNEP recommends more ambitious

pathways post 2020, in line with the upper end of the EU target to reduce emissions by 80-95% by 2050. A

-40% by 2030 target would put the EU on a pathway to only -80% by 2050.

3- Commission's 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap:‎

Analysis of the impact assessment of the 2030 white paper by the Wuppertal Institute:

4- Excerpts from a 2009 speech by Barroso about the importance of binding targets: http://

5- Hi-res photographs from today's action in front of the Berlaymont will be available from 15:00 today at

6- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions reap large health co-benefits. Improvement in air quality leads

to lower rates of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and economic gains as health care expenses

decrease, while productivity increases. Contact a spokesperson from the Health and Environment Alliance

(HEAL), listed above, for more information.

Permanent removal of toxic pollution permits must follow EU carbon market fix

[16 December 2013] – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – CAN Europe and WWF welcomed today’s final approval by EU ministers for the “backloading” measure that will temporarily withdraw 900 million pollution permits from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). After almost a year and a half of wrangling, the temporary “quick fix” for the glut of permits on the EU’s carbon market finally nears implementation with EU Member States backing the measure by an overwhelming majority.

“The final approval of the carbon-market fix is a step in the right direction but it is only a patch up solution. These toxic permits will now hang as the sword of Damocles over the EU ETS and risk causing a second carbon price crash if they return to the carbon market,” said Sam Van den plas, Climate Policy Officer at WWF. “What we need is structural reform measures for the EU ETS that include a supply mechanism to remove pollution permits from the market permanently before 2020.”

The backloading measure will delay from auction 900 million pollution permits, which will return to the market before 2020. Putting this number in perspective, at the end 2012 the total surplus accumulated on the EU’s carbon market reached almost two billion.

“The oversupply of pollution permits remains a ball and chain for EU climate ambition and a threat to environmental integrity of the upcoming climate and energy package,” said Julia Michalak, EU Climate Policy Officer at CAN Europe. “Any new proposals for EU climate policy will be seriously undermined without deep ETS reform.”

The European Commission is scheduled to publish proposals for structural reform of the EU ETS and a climate and energy policy framework for 2030 in mid-January. The EU must provide the signals needed for investor confidence to help the EU stay on the road to decarbonisation.

In order to revive the EU ETS, CAN Europe and WWF are calling for permanent removal of at least 2.2 billion allowances before 2020 and an increase in the annual emission reduction trajectory to at least 2.6%. The next climate and energy package must include ambitious, binding targets of at least 55% greenhouse gas emission reductions, 45% renewable energy and 40% energy savings by 2030.


Why must the ETS be fixed?

- The EU ETS is currently not functioning as envisaged. The scheme is neither contributing in a cost-effective manner to the EU’s climate objective of 80-95% emission cuts by 2050, nor accelerating the required low-carbon transition, and is therefore failing to meet its principal policy objectives.
- With back-loading and ETS structural reform in place, auctioning revenues for all Member States would increase significantly between 2014 and 2020. With the right policy choices, these funds can mobilise investments in clean and resource-efficient technologies in the power sector and industry as a whole.
- A restored carbon price signal will accelerate the modernisation of the power sector especially in central and eastern European Member States, which are obliged to invest the monetary value of the free allowances in the upgrade of their power systems.
- Back-loading will not decrease Europe’s competitiveness. In addition to a 100% free allocation of allowances, industrial sectors supposedly at greater risk of ‘carbon leakage’ (the flight of carbon intensive industries to lesser regulatory regimes) - such as steel, cement and glass production - may receive state aid in compensation for increased electricity prices resulting from CO2 costs passed on by power producers. Back-loading will not decrease the surplus of allowances held by many companies.

Member States must back Parliament's vote to delay auctioning of pollution permits to help fix the EU's carbon market

[Brussels, Strasbourg, 10 December 2013] - Today in Strasbourg, the European Parliament confirmed the position it adopted on 3rd July to amend the EU ETS (Emissions Trading System) Directive to allow the backloading proposal to move forward. Changing the ETS Directive enables delaying auctions of 900 million pollution permits in order to temporarily correct the massive oversupply on the EU’s carbon market.

EU Member States already indicated support for the backloading proposal by an overwhelming majority on 8 November. On Monday 16 December the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers will confirm EU Member States’ support for the measure. CAN Europe and WWF fully support the proposed delay of emission allowance auctions as an important first step towards deeper reform of the EU’s carbon market. However, backloading must be immediately followed by more long-lasting ETS structural reform, starting with cancellation of backloaded allowances. In addition, the EU must come forward with ambitious, binding climate and energy targets for 2030 to ensure the right investment signals are in place to make the EU ETS effective.

Quote from Sam Van den plas, Climate Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office

“The backloading proposal is finally coming closer to becoming reality and EU Member States must now swiftly move to confirm today’s vote. However, this agreement will not offer a permanent solution to revive the EU’s carbon market. The vast oversupply of pollution permits will still threaten the economic and environmental integrity of the current and future climate and energy package.”

Quote from Julia Michalak, EU Climate Policy Officer, CAN Europe
“Without a strong proposal for an EU climate and energy package for 2030, the EU ETS will not be saved. A binding target of at least 55% greenhouse gas reductions for 2030, accompanied by binding, ambitious RES and energy efficiency targets, is necessary to ensure the market won’t remain oversupplied for another one and a half decades. A strong 2030 package is key for ETS structural reform”

Read more: Member States must back Parliament's vote to delay auctioning of pollution permits to help fix the...

This is Climate Change in Europe

MEDIA ADVISORY: Report launch

[Brussels, 4 December 2013] - CAN Europe has just launched an exciting new publication, This is Climate Change in Europe. It brings together dozens of sources ranging from the IPCC, national adaptation plans, UN studies, official NATO documents and many more to provide, for the first time, a summary of current and pending climate impacts in Europe, on a country-by-country basis. 

The latest IPCC report offers again a stark reminder of the risks of a warming world: all regions are facing negative impacts on people's lives and health, our planet and our prosperity. Europe and the rest of the developed world cannot continue to ignore the impacts of climate change, as extreme weather events are no longer restricted to far off, exotic places. This report brings that point home, outlining impacts happening or already in the pipeline in each European country. CAN Europe’s colourful new publication highlights the climate impacts hitting Europe from a variety of perspectives, including ecological, health and food security, discussing the latest science, climate impacts in different sectors and foreseen loss and damage related to climate change in various European regions.

The publication is available for download by pasting this link into your browser:

For more information, please contact: vanessa/at/

Vanessa Bulkacz, CAN Europe Communications Manager, +32 494 525 738



After Warsaw, EU Leaders Need To Agree Ambitious 2030 Targets

Warsaw, 23 November 2013 – With a minimal agreement on the pathway to defining an ambitious binding climate agreement in Paris in 2015, the climate conference in Warsaw pushed most of the work that needs to be done way ahead. While the EU fought for a robust timetable for putting emission reduction commitments for the new Treaty on the table, it failed to provide the necessary incentives to get all developing countries on board, especially the emerging economies.

Despite some EU Member States making individual finance announcements, amongst others to fill the gap in the Adaptation Fund, they refused to provide certainty on public finance provision, particularly for adaptation, to meet the Copenhagen commitment of 100bn USD a year by 2020. Further more, the EU failed to unlock progress on short term climate action, not least because the EU itself, while projected to overshoot its 2020 target seven years ahead of time, is unable to ramp up its ambition.

"EU Heads of State and Government have another chance to take a leadership role, by adopting an ambitious set of 2030 targets in March of next year," said Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe. "Doing so would incentivise and challenge other countries, such as China and the US, to prepare to bring commitments to the Climate Leaders Summit organised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in September of next year. "

"We won't see EU leadership without France and Germany pushing together for three ambitious EU targets for emission reductions, renewables and energy efficiency," Trio concluded. France will host the decisive 2015 climate conference. Germany will pre-decide its position in its ongoing coalition negotiations."



Wendel Trio, Director, wendel/at/

Vanessa Bulkacz, Communication Manager, vanessa/at/

Climate Change Performance Index: Emissions are rising - but there is a glimmer of hope

Canada and Australia are the worst performers of all industrialised countries

(COP19, Warsaw 18. Nov. 2013). The new edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) was released by Germanwatch and CAN Europe in Warsaw at the UN climate talks today. The results show emissions worldwide have climbed to a new peak and no single country is yet on track to prevent dangerous climate change.

"Unexpectedly, for the first time our Index also draws a cautious picture of hope", says Jan Burck, the author of the Index that ranks the climate protection performance of the 58 highest emitters worldwide. "We see positive signals towards a slow down in the increase in global CO2 emissions. And China - the world's biggest emitter - improved its performance in climate protection."

Cover CCPI 2014Nevertheless, no country made it into the first three spots on the list due to a lack of ambition to reach the goal of keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius. Denmark clearly defended its fourth place in the Index. Its policy evaluation is exceptional: it managed to slightly improve its score in nearly every sector compared to the previous year. The United Kingdom took 5th place (previously ranked 10th) due to a decrease in emissions of 15% in the last five years plus an improvement in its efficiency, while Portugal is ranked 6th (previously ranked 7th).

"The latest UNEP Emissions Gap report also shows that current policies of all countries are insufficient to keep the world on a pathway to stay below 2°C. This should be a wake up call for all governments to begin speeding up emission reductions,” said Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe.“The European Union and its Member States, though currently high up in the rankings, cannot relax and must increase their 2020 pledge whilst ensuring an ambitious post-2020 target is adopted. Such leadership could help the world to increase action despite the detrimental actions of Australia and Japan," Trio added.

Canada and Australia are the worst performers of all the industrialised countries. After a change in government, Australia’s policy evaluation was much worse than previous years; consequently it has fallen to a rank of 57th (previously ranked 51st). One of main reasons for this decline was a turnaround on previous commitments to install a carbon levy and trade system that would have helped to reduce emissions. Canada still shows no intention of moving forward with climate policy and therefore remains at 58th position for another year. Only Iran (59th), Kazakhstan (60th) and Saudi Arabia (61st) have worse ratings.

For the first time Germany has dropped out of the top ten - from 8th to 19th, one of the biggest losers in this years index. The main reason is a negative policy evaluation by national experts. Unusually, the COP hosting country could this time not improve its ranking substantially. Poland’s overall performance remains one of the worst in the EU. Poland climbed up one place to 45 because of a slightly positive trend in the development of emissions and renew­able energies.

The world's two biggest emitters - China and the USA - are ranking in the lower midfield. China climbed up to 46th place because of its improved performance. "After a period with extremely high emissions growth rates, recent developments indicate a slower growth of CO2 emissions and a decoupling of CO2 growth and GDP growth", explains Burck. Both, its heavy investments in renewable energies and a very critical debate on coal, give hope for a slower emission growth in the future. In the USA (ranked 43rd), a more active policy to restrict the use of coal has been observed. Regulating existing power stations is supposed to begin by June 2014.

CCPI 2014 is a tool designed to enhance transparency in international climate politics. On the basis of standardised criteria, the index evaluates and compares the climate protection performance of 58 countries that are together responsible for more than 90% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. (More about the methodology can be found in the brochure “The Climate Change Performance Index – Background and Methodology”).

Climate Change Performance Index 2014:

Contact for media:

Jan Burck, Germanwatch, author of the index, +49(0)177/8889286; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.burck/at/

Stefan Küper, Germanwatch Press Officer, +49 228 60 492 23, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.kueper/at/ (in Bonn, Germany)

Wendel Trio, CAN Europe’s Director, +32 473 170887, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.wendel/at/ (in Warsaw)

Matthew Keys, CAN Europe Communications Officer, +48 733 586 332 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.matthew/at/ (in Warsaw)

Vanessa Bulkacz, CAN Europe Communications Manager, +32 494 525 738, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.vanessa/at/ (in Brussels)


Media contact

   Ania Drazkiewicz
   Communications Coordinator
   Direct line: +32 2894 4675
   Email: ania/at/

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