UK Energy & Climate Minister calls for 30% emissions reduction by 2020

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Britain’s energy and climate minister wants the EU to raise the price to businesses of producing carbon dioxide to reduce greenhouse gases and improve efficiency.

The Guardian reports that Ed Davey told a press conference that companies had been awarded an excess of permits to produce carbon under the EU’s emissions trading scheme — far greater than the number they need. Davey went on to say that if those excess permits were permanently cancelled, the price of emitting carbon for large consumers, such as power generators, would be shored up. This would give them more incentive to seek efficiencies and lower carbon fuels.

Davey also reportedly repeated the government’s position in calling for an EU-wide carbon reduction target of 30% by 2020. That is far tougher than the current target of 20%. Critics have long argued that the old target is too easily met. They also say imposing tougher goals would push other nations to adopt more stringent carbon limits.

But the Guardian reports that many of Davey’s coalition partners, and some sectors of business, do not agree with the higher target. Meanwhile, there are reports that the EU is only in the early stages of even considering fresh goals.

The Guardian quoted Connie Hedegaard, EU climate change commissioner. She said that the current targets had played a key role in encouraging companies and governments to invest in renewables. Hedegaard also said developing a green economy could be an answer to Britain’s recession, creating jobs and encouraging the efficient use of resources.

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