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Since 1990, the European Union has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent. It’s all part of the bloc’s goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The next big step toward that goal will be hitting a 55 percent reduction by 2030 — more than doubling the change over the last 30 years in the coming decade. The details of those goals will be hammered out in meetings next month. However, the percentages that these targets are tied to have their flaws. As Greta Thunberg pointed out, a big drop in EU emissions came from moving factories overseas. The current model for counting emissions doesn’t include consumption of goods produced outside of the bloc, meaning that everything from clothing to technology also goes unaccounted for.
Why This Matters: Europe’s pledge to reach neutrality by 2050 is a legal commitment that guides banks, policies, and decision-making. Each of the EU’s 27 countries must now write its own plan for how to reach these targets. But if the current model of exporting emissions and not accounting for the end products remains, the continent’s colonial approach “reducing” its emissions will just be a shell game and add little real benefit globally.“There can be no climate justice unless we acknowledge the fact that we have dumped large parts of our emissions overseas, exploiting cheap labour and poor working conditions as well as weaker environmental regulations,” Thunberg wrote. “Because not only are the ones least responsible for the climate crisis suffering its consequences the most — we are now also blaming them for our emissions, as they are the ones producing the stuff we buy.”
Another Accounting Loophole: In addition to exporting the industrial labor that produces emissions, the EU’s emissions accounting may also allow countries to offset emissions with carbon sinks like forests, oceans, and soils. Documents leaked earlier this fall gave countries the option to hit targets by counting carbon sinks toward their reductions.
“This accounting trick by the commission would make any new target sound higher than it actually is,” Sebastian Mang, a Greenpeace climate and energy policy adviser told The Guardian. “You can’t win a 100-metre race if you get someone else to run the last 20 metres. That’s called cheating. Restoring nature is essential, but must be additional to efforts to cut emissions in the most polluting sectors.”
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer On Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would be returning to the Obama-era method of calculating the “social cost of greenhouse gasses.” This metric is a measure of how much each metric ton of carbon emitted will cost future generations, including the costs of hurricane damage, flooding, wildfires, and other effects of […]
In a little-noticed report that could have major implications for both the Eastern U.S. and Europe, scientists announced last week that Atlantic Ocean currents are thought to be 15% weaker than in 1950. The Washington Post explained, saying that the “system of currents that includes the Florida Current and the Gulf Stream, is now ‘in its weakest state in over a millennium.'”
Why This Matters: We need to understand both these phenomena better to predict climate events. They are quite a coincidence.
“You can’t find a Utahn who doesn’t really care about clean air and clean water.” @RepJohnCurtis said his goal is to find ways “to make them feel more comfortable [politically] talking about it.” @LeeDavi49903322 #climate https://t.co/jVpPBJq0GE — CCL Salt Lake City (@CCLsaltlake) February 19, 2021 By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Representative John Curtis of […]
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