1. Editorial: Climate Wager

Editorial: Climate Wager

The EU’s climate accord brings it closer to its emission goals, but possibly at a large cost

By: | Published: October 28, 2014 2:16 AM

Though many gaps remain in our understanding of climate change phenomena, pressure from scientists and activists on governments across the world to cut carbon emissions has been mounting in the past couple of years. In this backdrop, the European Union (EU) has agreed to a legally-binding goal of 40% cut in the 1990 levels emissions by 2030. Environmentalists might see the target as inadequate, given the Union had earlier recognised that it needed to lower emissions by more than 80% of the 1990 levels by 2050. The new deal leaves most of this target for the future governments .

The more imminent challenge is likely to be posed at the EU economy itself. Member nations, especially those reliant on coal-based power, will not only have to reduce such generation but also have to spend on green technologies to make up for the loss. Thus, decarbonising, as Poland noted during the rounds of negotiation that preceded the deal, could slow down business considerably in central and Eastern Europe, where most of the coal-dependent—and economically fragile—members are. Given the EU economy seems headed for a slump after a brief and mild recovery, slowing down of growth in these blocs could leave the Union grappling with greater immediate costs than the long-term effects of carbon emission. This is not to say that climate change goals need be set aside, but a careful balancing between the immediate and future effects of the deal is needed.

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