New European Union energy and climate-policy targets have boosted hopes for a global climate deal next year, maintaining affordability and competiveness. However, the Ukraine crisis has created a new priority: to reduce energy dependence on Russia. The history of international agreements from nuclear disarmament to free trade shows that countries have to be convinced of the benefits before they cooperate, and build trust in each other step by step. The main objective of an international climate agreement in Paris next year must achieve trust. EU leaders have agreed three headline targets for 2030: to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% compared with 1990 levels, to get 27% of all energy from renewable sources, and to cut energy consumption by 27% compared to projected levels. EU emissions are already about 19% below 1990 levels, helped by the financial crisis and two Eurozone recessions. The new emission target may be more stretching. First, EU countries were allowed to meet the 2020 target by buying international carbon offsets. The new target refers to “domestic reduction” alone. Second, an EU impact assessment shows that, without new policies, it would only achieve emissions cuts of about 31% in 2030. Under the renewable-energy target, EU states must get 27% of their energy from renewable sources, compared to 20% in 2020. This target looks too easy. First, it is not binding on individual member states, and so may be difficult to enforce. In the overall international context, however, the EU offer is a good one; a Paris agreement above all else will succeed on a willingness to participate, where the EU has once again led the world in taking the first step. The three main domestic energy goals which the 2030 package must achieve are: investment in the region’s energy infrastructure, security of supply, and cost reduction. The recent New Climate Economy report did a good job of trying to clear this up. The weakness of the new renewable-energy target reflects cost concerns, and the fact that some countries like Britain are pursuing nuclear power as an alternative low-carbon technology. The weakness of the energy-efficiency target is disappointing, as one of the EU’s main opportunities to drive competitiveness, given its extraordinary dependence on energy imports (at 54% of consumption); high power prices; and strength in innovation. EU leaders agreed to review the efficiency target by 2020, with a view to strengthening it; they are well advised to do that. The gLAWcal Team EPSEI project Monday, 27 October 2014 (Source: China Dialogue)