Europe should cut CO2 output by 30 percent: German minister

3rd May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Union should raise its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 20 to 30 percent by 2020, German's environment minister said Sunday.

"The EU has good reasons, including economic ones, to rethink its current reduction offer," Norbert Rottgen said in a statement ahead of a climate meeting of some three dozen environment ministers outside Bonn.

"I will strongly advocate that the EU raise its target from 20 percent to 30 percent by 2020," measured against a 1990 benchmark, he said, adding that such a step would make Europe "a pioneer in the transformation towards a low-emission economy."

Germany had already committed to slashing its own emissions by 40 percent over the same period, he said.

Europe adopted the 20 percent goal in 2008, saying it would take on the more ambitious target if other countries followed suit.

So far, however, offers from other major industrialised countries are still below the EU's 20 percent mark.

The so-called Petersberg Climate Dialogue, to be kicked off late Sunday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, will be the highest-level political meeting on climate since the much-criticised summit in Copenhagen.

That December meeting fell spectacularly short of delivering the binding treaty that nearly all nations say is needed to spare the planet from the worst ravages of global warming, and UN negotiations since have remained stimied.

"The need to implement climate protection measures is more pressing than ever," Rottgen said.

The accord hammered out in Copenhagen set a goal of preventing global temperatures from rising more than 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

But voluntary pledges currently registered in the Copenhagen Accord put Earth on track for a 3.5 C or even a 4.0 C world by 2100, far above the widely held threshold for dangerous warming.

"We must have both an ambitious UN climate agreement and the swiftest possible implementation of climate protection in practice," Rottgen said.

© 2010 AFP

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