After finding that it will be cheaper than originally thought to reduce greenhouse gas output, the European Commission has invited its member countries to debate deeper emissions cuts. According to Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 will cost €32 billion less than suggested in 2008. That puts the cost at €48 billion per year or 0.32% of the European Union (EU)’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is one measure of its economic output. Consequently Hedegaard floated the idea of reducing emissions still further, by 30% from 1990 levels by 2020, on Wednesday.
The recession is the main reason for this reduced cost. A week ago the European Comission announced that verified EU emissions of greenhouse gases in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) in 2009 fell by 11.6% from 2008. “Due to the crisis the significant drop in emissions does not come as a surprise,” Hedegaard said. Two other reasons include cheaper supplies of natural gas, which produces less CO2 when burnt than coal, and more expensive carbon credits in the ETS, which is designed to reduce greenhouse gas production. Read the rest of this entry »