40 percent emissions cut in Europe feasible: study
8, 2009 - Xinhua
COPENHAGEN -- Despite the European Union's commitment
of a 20-percent cut in emissions by 2020, Europe in fact can achieve at least
a 40-percent reduction, according to a new study.
"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 industrialized
countries are to repay their climate debt and make a just and effective global
climate agreement possible," said the study prepared by the Stockholm Environment
Institute in partnership with Friends of the Earth Europe.
The report was
to be presented Wednesday on the sidelines of the ongoing Copenhagen climate change
The EU has so far set a 20-percent emissions reduction target
for 2020 compared with the level of 1990, and pledged to increase that to 30 percent
if the reduction commitments of other countries are considered sufficient by the
"Our analysis shows that deep cuts in emissions can be achieved in
Europe at reasonable cost between now and 2050, even with rather conservative
assumptions about technological improvement," said Charles Heaps, lead author
of the study and a senior scientist in SEI's climate and energy program.
scale and speed of changes required may seem daunting, and indeed it will require
a mobilization of Europe's economies, but the potential costs of inaction for
Europe and the whole world are so large that doing nothing presents a far more
implausible and dangerous future pathway for Europe."
Nnimmo Bassey, chair
of Friends of the Earth International, said, "Rich countries are responsible for
the vast majority of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today and must immediately
commit to steep and legally binding reductions of their emissions at home of at
least 40 percent by 2020."
According to the research, the reductions can
be achieved through a combination of radical improvements in energy efficiency,
the accelerated phase-out of fossil fuels, a dramatic shift towards renewable
energies, and lifestyle changes, such as a shift to public transport. More than
15,000 participants, including delegates from more than 190 countries, are gathering
here from Dec. 7-18 for the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change. The 12-day conference is expected to seal a deal
to slow the pace of global climate change.