South West MEP condemns Europe’s lack of ambition on climate targets

Molly Scott Cato MEP has condemned climate and energy targets agreed by European leaders at a summit today, describing the 2030 targets as ‘totally unambitious and destructive to the South West economy’. EU leaders finally agreed three targets in the early hours of this morning: 40% carbon emissions reduction, 27% of energy to come from renewables – though not in each state – and an ‘indicative’ 27% increase in energy efficiency.

Whilst critical of all the targets, Dr Scott Cato was particularly scathing of the renewable energy target:

“A target of just 27% for renewables is outrageous. It actually puts the brakes on previous 2020 policies which already lacked ambition [1]. In fact this will slow the current growth of renewables down by 50% in the next ten years, something particularly worrying for the South West, a region with one of the best prospects for renewable energy in the country and where there is enormous potential for creating green jobs.”

The Renewable Energy Association, the UK’s largest renewables trade body, had called for a trio of targets for greenhouse gas emissions savings, energy efficiency and renewable energy, each of at least 40% [3]

Molly Scott Cato shares the concerns of the renewable energy industry and blames the UK government for helping to water down the EU proposals. She said:

“We have a Government hell bent on fracking and nuclear and leading figures in the Tory Party want to keep their fossil fuel chums happy. These targets will do just that, ensuring Europe remains hooked on polluting and expensive fuels. Yet the renewables industry is telling us that want clear and ambitious targets that would provide them with the confidence to invest for the future. With such clear targets, they say renewables could be the cheapest source of low carbon energy well before 2030. Instead, we are now looking at a nuclear power station at Hinkley that analysts have labelled the most expensive power plant in the world.”

The Green Party of England and Wales believe that in order to keep emissions within safe limits and prevent the worst impacts of climate change, global emissions need to drop by as much as 60% as soon as 2030.

Molly Scott Cato concluded:

“Industrialised countries with high emissions, like the UK, can both afford to, and need to, reduce their emissions much faster. As Green MEP for the South West I will continue to do my best to support renewable energy development and energy efficiency projects in my region, one of the most fertile locations in the UK for such developments.”


[1]  See Greenpeace media briefing and graph on page 1 showing the growth of renewable energy is likely to slow dramatically from 6.4% per year between 2010 and 2020 to 1.4% per year between 2020 and 2030.