Europe is Latest to Loosen Climate Commitments

As warnings from scientists about our changing planet become more dire, countries are retreating from their prior climate commitments. Once a leader, the European Union is bowing to economic pressures and loosening renewable energy targets.
January 26, 2014, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"High energy costs, declining industrial competitiveness and a recognition that the economy is unlikely to rebound strongly any time soon are leading [European Union] policy makers to begin easing up in their drive for more aggressive climate regulation," reports Stephen Castle. Officials have agreed to scrap binding renewable energy targets for individual countries and decided not to impose strict regulations on fracking. The bloc is just the latest climate leader to come in for criticism in the wake of perceived environmental policy softening.  

"Officials said the new proposals were not evidence of diminished commitment to environmental discipline but reflected the complicated reality of bringing the 28 countries of the European Union together behind a policy," notes Castle. "But the proposals were seen as a substantial backtrack by environmental groups, and evidence that economic factors were starting to influence the climate debate in ways they previously had not in Europe."

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Published on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 in The New York Times
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