Historic summit deal sees EU pledge to cut emissions by one fifth

EU leaders have agreed measures to deliver a unilateral commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels).

They have also made a clear commitment to increase this target to 30% in the context of an international climate agreement.

In addition, leaders across Europe have pledged that 20% of all energy will come from renewable sources by 2020.

Speaking from Poznan where talks on a global climate deal are underway, energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband welcomed the agreement.

Miliband said: “The rest of the world has been watching, and Europe has delivered a credible and ambitious climate package. It sends a signal that, even in the most challenging of economic times, it’s possible to take bold far-sighted action to slash emissions.”

He continued: “Today’s agreement gives us the practical means to achieving our emission targets. The EU’s Emission Trading System is strengthened with a tighter cap and greater levels of auctioning, putting a premium on low carbon technologies. We’ll see a massive increase in renewable energy and pressure from the UK has secured billions in funding for vital carbon capture and storage demonstration plants.”

What EU leaders have agreed:

• Commitment to a 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels) rising to 30% if a global deal is reached;

• European-wide commitment to 20% of all energy to come from renewable sources by 2020;

• Across the package, most of the 20% reduction will be delivered domestically due to reductions as a result of the renewables targets, energy efficiency targets and the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Access to international carbon credits to be limited in the ETS to ensure that at least half of the reductions required take place within the EU, whilst allowing flexibility to invest in low carbon projects across the globe;

• The centrally set cap on the EU ETS will deliver emissions 21% below 2005 levels by 2020;

• At least 60% of EU ETS allowances to be auctioned by 2020. In Phase 2 (2008-2012), only around 3% of allowances are being auctioned;

• Use of 300million EU ETS allowances, worth billions of pounds, to part-fund up to 12 Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration plants;

• A commitment to use half of all auctioning revenues to tackle climate change, within the EU and internationally. This will help create opportunities in developing clean technology and set us on the path to a low carbon economy;

• Agreement of effort sharing in sectors not covered by the EU ETS. In the UK this would equate to a 16% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020;

• A binding annual trajectory towards 2020 targets to ensure continuous effort.

Miliband said: “Combined with a new spirit of engagement from the United States, there is now everything to play for as we put the pieces in place for a global climate deal in Copenhagen next December.”