* Official publication of 2030 policy expected this month
* Member states deeply divided over new targets
* EU views set tone ahead of 2015 U.N. climate talks
* Debate over 35-40 percent carbon, 24-27 percent renewables
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, Jan 10 European Commissioners clashed
on Friday over what the European Union's climate and energy
policy goals for 2030 should be, with time for agreement running
short ahead of their planned publication this month, EU sources
The European Union has sought to lead the global fight
against climate change, but the economic crisis has sapped the
appetite of business and some member states for decisive action
because of concerns over competitiveness and cost.
Any policy announcement on targets to succeed the 2020 EU
goals on cutting emissions, improving energy efficiency and
increasing renewable energy use, will require around two years
of EU debate to become law.
But it will send a signal ahead of next year's U.N. talks on
a successor to the Kyoto pact on tackling climate change.
EU sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 2030
carbon-cutting targets of 35 percent and 40 percent were under
debate, together with a renewables goal of 24-27 percent.
"The Commissioners' breakfast was inconclusive," one EU
source said. "The fight will be to get the 40 percent."
"Depending on the decision on the greenhouse gas figure, the
proposal for only an indicative target on renewables will be set
at either 24 percent or 27 percent," another source said.
Last year, EU sources said a 40 percent carbon-cutting goal
and a 30 percent renewables level were under consideration.
LOSS OF MORAL COURAGE
The levels now under debate are still a rise from 2020 goals
of a 20 percent carbon cut and a target to get 20 percent of
energy from green sources, such as wind and solar.
But environmentalists say they amount to business as usual.
Official EU figures for 2012, the latest available, put the
renewables level at 14.4 percent and a 20 percent carbon cut for
2020 versus 1990 has almost been met already.
"The Commission has lost its moral courage," Brook Riley, a
campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said.
He added that the Commission was capping renewable energy
and efficiency and reneging on a pledge to limit global warming
to 2 degrees Celsius, the level scientists say prevents the
worst consequences of extreme weather.
The divisions in the Commission reflect deep differences of
opinion among the 28 EU member states.
Nations such as Britain want only a carbon goal, a view
echoed by some in business and utilities such as E.ON
Dominant EU state Germany, however, wants a renewables
target to help achieve its "Energiewende", or shift from nuclear
to green power, and Denmark wants a repeat of the 2020
three-goal formula, also including an energy savings
A committee in the European Parliament on Thursday backed
three new targets for 2030, but the vote was not binding.
Those opposing triple targets say it is too soon to agree a
new efficiency goal after difficult debate in 2012 on a law to
enforce energy saving through measures, such as insulation. They
also argue the renewables target has resulted in expensive
subsidies that have raised energy costs for consumers.
Increased energy efficiency could also be a problem for the
struggling EU carbon market, which at less than five euros per
tonne is doing nothing to halt a rise in the burning of cheap
coal, the most carbon-intensive source of power.
Energy savings would reduce demand for carbon allowances
when the market is already oversupplied because of a collapse in
demand caused by economic recession.
This week, EU officials backed a plan to remove surplus
allowances from the market, which the Commission, the EU
executive, has said could hopefully lead to a final decision by
March, ending years of uncertainty.
The 2030 policy announcement this month is expected to
include a legislative proposal on a supply adjustment mechanism,
which would automatically remove surplus carbon permits in the
event of a collapse in demand. Equally, permits could be added
in the event of a boom.