06 Feb 2020, 12:45
Julian Wettengel

Absence of climate “poster child” UK makes reaching EU targets harder – opinion

Frankfurter Rundschau

It will be much tougher for the European Union to reach climate targets without climate “poster child” UK after Brexit, writes Joachim Wille in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Rundschau. The UK has contributed a relatively high share to the bloc’s emissions reductions, and this would have to be compensated by the remaining countries, writes Wille. This would become an even bigger issue should the EU decide to raise the 2030 climate target as planned under the European Green Deal package. In addition, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s “job is becoming more difficult with London leaving because the climate policy balance of power in the EU is shifting”, writes Wille. Eastern European countries, which have often stepped on the brakes in terms of plans for phasing out coal and reaching climate neutrality, will “automatically carry more weight”.

It is unclear whether the UK will leave joint climate policy with the EU or continue some form of closer cooperation. German power company Steag told Welt am Sonntag that remaining EU countries must cut an additional 136 million tonnes of CO₂ should the bloc decide to retain its 40-percent reduction target by 2030, even without the UK. European greenhouse gas emissions are limited through two main instruments: the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) for the energy sector and industry, and the Effort Sharing Regulation for sectors such as transport and buildings. The targets prescribed in both systems would have to be adapted should the UK drop out.

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