Denmark to contest 'UK-driven' EU climate and energy goals

The Danish climate and energy minister says his government is readying to challenge the goals announced by the European Commission last week ahead of the EU Leaders Summit in March.

Minister Martin Lidegaard told EurActive website that he felt the compromise of having no binding renewable target was too much, and while “very, very satisfied” that the EU climate and energy package announced in Brussels last week had got Europe’s states to pledge a 40 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as measured against 1990 levels, concerns have been raised about the 27 per cent non-binding pan-European renewable energy target.
Martin Lidegaard
Mr Lidegaard’s opinion will be the polar opposite of the views expressed in London and Warsaw as he told the EU news site, “I actually think that what came out [of the European Commission] was too compromised. We were happy that we got a binding target. We just want to ensure that it will actually be binding and we would like a more ambitious level.”

EurActiv understands that Denmark is also likely to seek stronger language on energy efficiency targets - which the package only mentioned in the vaguest terms – ahead of an EU leaders’ summit in March.

The UK won an opt-out of binding renewables targets at national level in the package. But this was merely “the suggestion of a compromise, and it will of course have to be negotiated in the weeks and months to come,” Lidegaard said.

“It’s going to be a pretty tough debate but we are ready from the Danish side and we expect to put a formal Danish position on the table within weeks,” he added.

Denmark is one of the EU’s cleanest energy providers and has what it calls “the most ambitious energy plan in the world” to use renewable sources for half of its electricity needs by 2020, and for all of its energy and transport needs by 2050.

Behind the scenes in Brussels, the article continues, Britain is seen to be the main reason that a binding renewable target was dropped. “If there’s one person to blame for the lack of a renewables target, it is [UK Prime Minister] David Cameron,” a senior source in energy intensive industry commented to Euractiv. “If he’d said the UK wanted a renewables target the balance of power might have shifted.”

Britain successfully argued, up until this point, that energy is a recognised national competence and that binding renewable targets could interfere with its plans to lower emissions with shale gas, nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage programmes.

However the green fringe is sceptical about whether the UK’s direction will enable it to successfully decarbonise, and the same is felt about the other countries such as Spain and Poland who also support the position.

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