On Friday, the relevant news wires were buzzing with the claim that “European Union leaders today agreed to binding targets to reduce the bloc’s emissions and boost its renewable energy capacity by 2020.” (see, e.g., Greenwire’s coverage, password required)
The ritual Euro-speak was on full, enthusiastic display. “’We can once again say to the rest of the world, Europe is taking the lead, you should join us in fighting climate change’, said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. He called the deal ‘the most ambitious package ever agreed by any institution on energy security and climate change’.” Yes, you could say that. And most in Brussels generally do, no matter what the facts say.
It should come as no surprise that, upon scrutiny, and as per usual with the ambitious global warming rhetoric of our continental friends, the truth was slightly different. The AP coverage cited above missed a key point: “competence,” which dictates that in fact the binding agreement, like the “binding” Kyoto Protocol, is no such thing (Kyoto’s Article 18 says that it could be made binding, by amendment adopted by the Parties, which when proposed by the Saudis in December 2005 was rebuffed by the EU and Canada).
Thanks to the indispensable Benny Peiser at Liverpool John Moore’s University and host of CCNet, here’s what some of the more in-tune EU media are saying (Spiegel Online translated courtesy of Dr. Peiser):
“Barroso has to rely on the good will of member states….”
It turns out that the EU has no legal power or framework on energy issues that are entirely in the legal responsibility of member states.
May I suggest to Commission President Barroso that he develop a Plan B?