The European Parliament suggested the EU should aim beyond its current 20% emissions reduction target for 2020.
The analysis could reignite the debate over whether the EU should boost its climate ambitions. The economic downturn has made emissions cuts easier to achieve but also has reduced the ability of governments and companies to make the necessary investments.
The financial crisis has virtually guaranteed that the bloc will meet the 20% target, according to a European Commission Staff Working Paper and ensured that “the 30% reduction scenario has also become considerably less costly.”
But the Working Paper says that the additional cost of going to 30%, previously estimated by the Commission at €33 billion, would hit poorer EU states in Central and Eastern Europe proportionally harder than those in the richer West.
The analysis suggests that if only the higher-income member states were to set aside allowances earmarked for auctioning, the lower-income member states would see auctioning revenues rise by as much as 80% in 2020,” thanks to the expected rise in carbon allowance prices, the Commission paper said.
The EU has offered to increase its target to 30% if other countries commit to deeper cuts in a global climate deal. But some EU governments such as Britain and Denmark believe Europe should raise its target unilaterally to create green jobs and boost growth.