Poland Aims to Stall German Push to End EU CO2 Emissions by 2050
(Bloomberg) -- Poland is trying to water down a push by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the European Union to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Merkel wants EU leaders to signal their support for a plan to reach zero net emissions by the middle of the century at a summit in Brussels Thursday. The Polish government wants the deadline dropped from the draft statement, according to a proposal seen by Bloomberg.
The move pits the eastern Europe’s biggest economy against Germany efforts to get the EU to clean up its economy. Poland and some other eastern nations have been at odds with more ambitious western countries, including France, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands, over the pace of emissions cuts and which energy sources and technologies should be encouraged.
A final decision at the summit will need unanimity and will provide more clarity about the EU’s resolve to shift to a low-carbon future. The 28-nation bloc already has a target to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.
A strategy to move toward zero net emissions by 2050 was first outlined by the European Commission in November and aimed at showing how determined the bloc is to honor the Paris Agreement on climate change, even as President Donald Trump pulls the U.S. out of the 2015 deal.
To enshrine the target in law, the first step is to get a political nod from EU heads of state. Opponents of a quick decision are concerned that further aggressive limits on fossil fuels will hurt their economies. The latest version of a draft summit statement, which may still change during the talks on Thursday night, calls for finalizing “guidance” on the long-term strategy by the end of this year and adopting it in early 2020.
For Merkel, the heat is on to speed up Germany’s own drive to cut emissions. The opposition Greens have surged past her Christian Democrat-led bloc to lead in recent polls. Merkel told her caucus this month that the government can no longer afford an “easy-peasy” approach on climate change.
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