Copenhagen/Brussels, December 10, 2009 – Europe must commit to at least 40% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 without offsetting, Friends of the Earth International urged ahead of a meeting of European Heads of State happening in parallel to the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen.

The meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December will discuss climate change and emissions targets for the EU with serious implications for the ongoing international talks.

The European Union has to date committed to 20% emission cut by 2020, and pledged to increase this to 30% conditional on the commitments made by other countries. Both targets are inadequate, include huge amounts of ineffective tricks such as offsetting, and would not enable a just solution to the climate crisis.

European governments still have not solved discussions on how to count emissions from forests and how to treat the so called ’hot air’ surplus emission credits which could massively impact on the EU targets.

Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, said:

“African countries are among the most affected by climate change but have contributed the least to it. We Africans demand at least 40% emissions cuts without offsetting in Europe, and in all other developed countries which have got rich emitting the gases at the root of the problem.“

Sonja Meister, climate campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“Europe must up its commitment and agree to at least 40% emissions reductions by 2020 at home. At the same time European governments must close all the loopholes which would make the targets meaningless. Achieving at least 40% cuts within Europe by 2020 is technically and economically feasible – there are no excuses for governments not to act now.”

“Young Friends of the Earth is saying ‘up yours’ to the EU about its targets. To prevent dangerous climate change Europe must take ambitious action on both emission cuts and climate finance for the most vulnerable people in the world and for future generations. Real solutions to the climate crisis exist – false solutions like carbon offsetting must be rejected,” says Young Friends of the Earth campaigner Job van den Assem.

A study produced by Stockholm Environment Institute in partnership with Friends of the Earth Europe shows for that at least 40% emission cuts within Europe by 2020 are feasible and affordable.

This is the minimum scale and speed of reductions science says is necessary from rich countries to avert the worst impacts of climate change, and is the kind of deep cuts needed if industrialised countries are to repay their climate debt and make a just and effective global climate agreement possible.

Friends of the Earth International also demands that the EU makes a strong financial commitment to pay its fair share of the finances needed by developing countries for mitigation, technology and adaptation. This needs to be new, public money additional to existing development aid. Short-term commitments alone will not satisfy developing country negotiators in Copenhagen. Long-term predictable financing is needed to enable those countries least responsible for climate change but hit hardest by its consequences to adapt and to develop cleanly.

The money must be administered by the UNFCCC in a central fund, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network said. Any funding outside of the UN, including the World Bank’s climate investment funds, and any financial transfers made as part of offsetting schemes should not count as fulfilment of developed country commitments.

So far EU leaders have failed to put a firm financial offer on the table though developing countries are already suffering the effects of climate change.



A new study published by Friends of the Earth Europe and Stockholm Environment Institute on December 1 proves for the first time that Europe could achieve at least 40% domestic emissions reductions by 2020 without resorting to false solutions like agrofuels, nuclear or carbon capture and storage.