* Poland says there's no hurry, wants more information
* Political agreement only a signal, years to agree new law
* Thirteen back 40 percent carbon cut plus EU-wide green
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, March 3 Thirteen ministers on Monday
urged the European Union to reach agreement on the main elements
of 2030 environment and energy policy this month or risk
deterring investors and delaying efforts to get a global deal on
Among the rest of the 28 EU member states, the most
prominent opposition has come from Poland, which says there is
no hurry to reach a political deal.
"We can work with Poland to get an agreement in March,"
Britain's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey told
reporters. "I'm not saying it's going to be easy."
But he said the early agreement of the 13 ministers,
including from France, Germany and Britain, provided a chance to
make an agreement with Poland and others.
The Commission, the EU executive, in January outlined its
vision of 2030 climate and energy policy to succeed the existing
set of 2020 goals.
The Commission suggested a single fully binding 2030 target
to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels,
plus an EU-wide goal to get at least 27 percent of energy from
renewable sources such as wind and solar. In broad terms, the
Green Growth Group supports the Commission view.
A full legislative proposal is not expected until next year,
when a new set of Commissioners will have taken office, so it
will take years to finalise a 2030 law, but an outline agreement
from all leaders would be a strong signal.
Europe's economic fragility, however, has increased the
difficulty of agreeing on climate policy. A draft EU document
ahead of the meeting of leaders on March 20-21 placed the focus
on industry and competitiveness, rather than the environment.
The Green Growth Group of 15 countries, including the 13 who
issued the statement, says climate policy need not be an enemy
"A delay risks undermining commercial sector confidence,
deferring critical energy investments, increasing the cost of
capital for these investments and undermining momentum towards a
global climate deal," the group of 13 ministers said.
EU-WIDE VERSUS NATIONAL
Britain, which previously avoided any commitment to a
renewable goal, said it could accept an EU-wide target provided
it did not lead to any binding national targets. Critics of the
EU-wide target say it is almost impossible to enforce without
The group of ministers says there is no time to lose ahead
of U.N. talks seeking to get a global deal on tackling climate
change in Paris next year.
It also says investors need early certainty if they are to
help with the upgrading of infrastructure, for instance, which
would improve grid connections in Europe, increase security of
supply and theoretically lower costs.
Poland, whose economy is heavily dependent on coal, says the
goals under debate would impose a greater burden on it than
Marcin Korolec, Poland's deputy environment minister, told
reporters that aiming for agreement in March was "a very
optimistic approach" and that the international agenda did not
require EU agreement until early next year.
"I think it will be difficult for the European Council to
decide on some targets without knowing crucial elements,"
Korolec said, referring to how targets should be distributed
among different member states.
(editing by Jane Baird)