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19 July 2010

Europe must up CO2 cuts to 30 per cent: EU's big three

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Germany, France and Britain on Thursday jointly called for the European Union to deepen its planned reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions from 20 to 30 percent by 2020

Ministers from Europe's three biggest economies made the exceptional move in a commentary published by the Financial Times, the Frankfurter Allgemeine and Le Monde.

"If we stick to a 20-percent cut, Europe is likely to lose the race to compete in the low-carbon world to countries such as China, Japan or the US -- all of which are looking to create a more attractive environment for low-carbon investment," they warned.

The commentary was written by German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen, his French counterpart Jean-Louis Borloo and Chris Huhne, the British climate change secretary.

Alone among the major economies, the EU has vowed to cut its emissions of manmade heat trapping gases by 20 percent by 2020 over 1990, the benchmark year used in UN climate negotiations.

The EU has until now offered to go to a cut of 30 percent if other industrialised powers follow suit. The proposal was put on the table, but not reciprocated, at December's world climate talks in Copenhagen.

The joint commentary did not specifically suggest that the 30 percent should be a unilateral initiative, saying only that the EU "should raise its emissions target."

Achieving emissions cuts carries an economic cost in order to achieve greater energy efficiency and switch to cleaner sources.


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