BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU regulators will say this week the European Union does not need to set a more ambitious greenhouse gas target until the next decade, a text seen by Reuters shows, even though the Paris climate deal stipulates a preliminary review of goals in 2018.
Such a decision would please member state Poland, whose economy relies on coal, but anger environment campaigners, who see the Paris Agreement, agreed in December, as an argument for the European Union to step up its climate action.
So far, the EU has agreed an outline target to cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels and has embarked on a difficult debate on sharing the task among its 28 member states.
A draft prepared ahead of a meeting of EU environment ministers in Brussels on Friday says the existing target “is based on global projections that are in line with the medium-term ambition of the Paris Agreement”.
Following Friday’s meeting, EU heads of government will meet later this month to discuss their actions following the Paris deal, which the Commission is urging them to ratify as soon as possible.
The draft text added a first global stock-take in 2023 of emissions reductions, as agreed in Paris, “is relevant for considering progressively more ambitious action by all parties for the period beyond 2030”.
That stock-take is expected to be preceded by a special U.N. report in 2018 and governments in Paris agreed to an initial review of their actions before the next decade to get on track for net zero emissions in the second half of the century.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, EU sources said the text was still a draft and the European Commission would contribute to the 2018 dialogue on emissions goals, although the 2023 deadline was more significant.
Environmental campaigners in December hailed the Paris Agreement as a step towards early revision, especially as the EU target was worded “at least” on the understanding that if other countries backed a global deal, Europe would do more.
EU policy has been calculated on the basis of a 2 degree limit on global warming, which campaigners and some scientists say is not enough to prevent the worst effects.
The Paris Agreement said planet-warming needed to be capped at well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and set an aspirational goal of 1.5 degrees.
French President Francois Hollande said immediately after the deal he engaged on behalf of France to revise its greenhouse gas goals by 2020 at the latest. However, Hollande’s presidential term ends in 2017.
EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete was more circumspect, saying setting new European targets was a job for the next Commission that takes office in 2019.
Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo; Editing by Susan Fenton and Susan Thomas