GUE/NGL MEP Sabine Wils has slammed the European Commission's new emissions reduction targets as “devastating for the planet”.

She said: “Quite simply the commission has put the interests of large energy companies above the interests of the environment and the most vulnerable populations whose livelihoods are already under threat as a result of climate change. The Commission white paper aims to lock Europe into an unsustainable energy system that is bad for people and the environment, while guaranteeing large benefits to the coal, gas, nuclear power and bioenergy industries. It seems as if the Commission wants to prevent making the necessary long term changes.”

The new greenhouse gas emissions target is a reduction on 1990 levels of 40% by 2030, which MEP Wils describes as “not nearly enough to get on a track to limit global temperature increase below two degrees – and stave off runaway climate change”.

She added: “What we need is a greenhouse gas emissions target of at least 65%, a renewables target of 45% and a 50% energy efficiency target.”

“The dirty energy industry has such influence over policymakers that the environment does not stand a chance,” continued Sabine Wils. “But how can we be so reckless to put short-term unsustainable profit ahead of the future of our planet? What will future generations say when they look back at this insane behaviour? The Commission white paper is not even business as usual, but a clear backlash against the climate.”

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