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Despite divisions, European leaders reach climate accord

Leaders of Finland (Prime minister Alexander Stubb), Netherlands (Prime Minister Mark Rutte), Germany (Chancellor Angela Merkel) and Lithuania (President Dalia Grybauskaite) at the summit in Brussels
Leaders of Finland (Prime minister Alexander Stubb), Netherlands (Prime Minister Mark Rutte), Germany (Chancellor Angela Merkel) and Lithuania (President Dalia Grybauskaite) at the summit in Brussels Reuters/François Lenoir

An agreement on climate change targets puts Europe in the driver's seat ahead of next year's global climate conference in Paris - though some say the latest deal does not go far enough.

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In preparation for a 2015 global treaty, the 28 European Union nations agreed on what they called the world’s most ambitious climate change targets for 2030.

Deep divisions were evident at the summit in Brussels, with splits between the poorer, fossil fuel dependant nations and those which are richer and greener.

However, they managed to reach an agreement which included targets for renewable energy and the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions.

French President François Hollande noted that Europe is leading by example, though some member states expressed reservations about the cost of the proposed measures.

Environmental groups argued that the agreement did not go far enough and, according to news agency AP, the non-profit group Greenpeace said the EU had "pulled the handbrake on clean energy".

The climate deal builds on earlier deals, increasing targets for renewables such as wind and solar from 20 to 27 percent of energy production, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

In November and December 2015, a global summit will be held in the French capital to discuss the next phase of existing climate measures, currently planned until 2020.

In order to reach a global accord, Europe will have to convince, among others, the United States, China, and developing nations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the current deal will give Europe a better position from which to negotiate in the 2015 talks, while EU president Herman Van Rompuy mentioned ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and Ukraine as reasons why the EU must ensure its energy security.
 

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