It also suggests that EU countries would be able to meet up to 25% of their national greenhouse gas reduction targets by buying emission credits abroad. States could sell their excess credits to others.
The targets for each member state are still being calculated under a complex burden-sharing formula. States with a “currently low GDP and thus high GDP growth expectations” – such as recently acceded eastern European countries – will be allowed to increase emissions relative to 2005 (the last year for which verified data exists), but are still expected to limit growth.
To ensure a “fair contribution” from all EU countries, no member state would be asked to cut emissions by more than 20% compared with 2005, and none would be allowed to increase them by more than 20%.
The proposals include a mechanism to increase the EU goal to 30 % if global climate talks produce an international agreement in which industrialised countries taken on comparable emission reductions. If this goes ahead, the limit on foreign credits currently set at three per cent of total emissions – equivalent to a quarter of emission reductions – would rise to eight per cent.