Climate and energy policy – Copenhagen and beyond

Even before the con­fer­ence in Copen­hagen end­ed, NGOs such as GLOBAL 2000 warned that the nego­ti­a­tions might col­lapse, in part due to Aus­tri­an intran­si­gence relat­ed to the account­ing of for­est emis­sions.11Glob­al 2000: Eine Woche Kli­makon­ferenz – GLOBAL 2000 zieht erste Bilanz: Ver­hand­lung stock­en, Öster­re­ich bremst!, 11 Decem­ber 2009 (last access: 17 May 2010). When the con­fer­ence indeed end­ed with­out pro­duc­ing any tan­gi­ble results, the very same organ­i­sa­tion stat­ed that the dec­la­ra­tion by the lead­ers was not worth the paper it was writ­ten upon.22Glob­al 2000: GLOBAL 2000 zu Kopen­hagen: Ver­hand­lungs­de­saster statt notwendi­ger Kli­maschutz!, 19 Decem­ber 2009 (last access: 25 May 2010). The rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Cli­mate Alliance Aus­tria referred to the min­i­mal com­pro­mise reached as a “cli­mate cat­a­stro­phe”.33Klimabünd­nis Öster­re­ich: Klimabünd­nis: Kopen­hagen ist gescheit­ert, 19 Decem­ber 2010 (last access: 22 May 2010). He added that the only pos­i­tive aspect to be men­tioned was the com­mit­ment to pro­vide 30 bil­lion US-Dol­lars to devel­op­ing coun­tries in the peri­od 2010–2012 and 100 bil­lion US-Dol­lars a year by 2020 to cov­er mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion costs. Aus­tri­an Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Berlakovich open­ly acknowl­edged the fail­ure of the con­fer­ence. “Today is a black day for cli­mate pro­tec­tion. What remains is only an invi­ta­tion to con­tin­ue”, Berlakovich held.44Lebens­min­is­teri­um: Kopen­hagen: Geteilte Reak­tio­nen auf Min­i­malkon­sens bei Klimagipfel. Berlakovich kri­tisiert das Fehlen konkreter Zielvor­gaben, 28 Decem­ber 2009 (last access: 22 May 2010). Lat­er on, Chan­cel­lor Fay­mann blamed the organ­is­ers, say­ing that a con­fer­ence bring­ing togeth­er 190 heads of gov­ern­ment to achieve a com­pro­mise with­in three days should have been bet­ter pre­pared.55Bun­deskan­zler­amt Öster­re­ich: Bun­deskan­zler Fay­mann: Finanz­mark­tkon­trolle, Banken­ab­gabe und Kli­maschutz sind außen­poli­tis­che Schw­er­punk­te, 6 April 2010 (last access: 25 May 2010). The Greens also stat­ed that the con­fer­ence in Copen­hagen did not pro­duce any results and crit­i­cised both the gov­ern­ment and the EU.66Die Grü­nen: Kogler zu Klimagipfel Kopen­hagen brachte Null-Ergeb­nis – Kon­ferenz gescheit­ert, 19 Decem­ber 2009 (last access: 10 May 2010). Johan­na Ruz­ic­ka, writ­ing for the dai­ly Der Stan­dard, even argued that the min­i­mal out­come of Copen­hagen had led to an “inter­na­tion­al paral­y­sis on the issue of cli­mate pro­tec­tion and to a per­plex­i­ty as to how to solve the prob­lem of glob­al warm­ing.”77Johan­na Ruz­ic­ka: Kli­maschutz in der Sack­gasse, Der Stan­dard, 13 Jan­u­ary 2010. The Aus­tri­an Fed­er­al Eco­nom­ic Cham­ber also described the results of the con­fer­ence as dis­ap­point­ing.88WKO: WKÖ-Schwarz­er: Zweit­eilung der Welt in Sachen CO2-Restrik­tio­nen muss über­wun­den wer­den, 20 Decem­ber 2009 (last access: 5 May 2010). The EU strat­e­gy of try­ing to inspire oth­er coun­tries to com­mit them­selves to emis­sion reduc­tions by adopt­ing bind­ing reduc­tion goals pri­or to the con­fer­ence had been flawed and had failed, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Cham­ber argued.

Over­all, the EU uni­lat­er­al­ly com­mit­ting itself to more ambi­tious envi­ron­men­tal goals, espe­cial­ly to greater lev­els of emis­sion reduc­tion, is opposed by the busi­ness cir­cles. Before the con­fer­ence in Copen­hagen had start­ed, the Fed­er­al Eco­nom­ic Cham­ber had demand­ed that all indus­tri­alised and thresh­old coun­tries should adopt “rea­son­able” goals with regard to emis­sion reduc­tion.99WKO: EU-Panora­ma, 27 Novem­ber 2009 (last access: 4 May 2010). The Cham­ber open­ly opposed the EU uni­lat­er­al­ly rais­ing the reduc­tion goal to 30 per­cent dur­ing the con­fer­ence unless oth­er coun­tries agreed to do so as well. It was argued that enter­pris­es would oth­er­wise flee the EU due to high­er “CO2 costs”. The Pres­i­dent of the Cham­ber, Christoph Leitl, added that uni­lat­er­al com­mit­ments would not be help­ful any­way, as the EU was respon­si­ble only for 13 per­cent of emis­sions world­wide.1010WKO: Leitl zu Kli­maschutzgipfel: Europa muss alle großen CO2-Emit­ten­ten mit gle­ich­w­er­ti­gen Verpflich­tun­gen ins Boot bekom­men, 11 Decem­ber 2009 (last access: 4 May 2010). Leitl also point­ed out that Aus­tria had been over­am­bi­tious in Kyoto and thus com­mit­ted itself to goals it could not realise in the end. Thus, the coun­try was now pay­ing about 1 bil­lion Euros in penal­ties, as had been antic­i­pat­ed and warned against by the Cham­ber. The Fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tri­an Indus­tries (IV) is report­ed­ly not in favour of more demand­ing emis­sion reg­u­la­tions either.1111Der Stan­dard, 26 May 2010. As for the gov­ern­ment, while the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Berlakovich called, accord­ing to a report by the dai­ly Der Stan­dard, for a con­crete, clear-cut EU posi­tion in order to be able to put pres­sure on coun­tries such as the US, Chi­na, or Brazil,1212Lebens­min­is­teri­um: Berlakovich: Schritt für Schritt hin zu einem neuen Kli­maschutz­abkom­men, 9 April 2010 (last access: 5 May 2010). nei­ther the Min­istry of the Envi­ron­ment, nor the Min­istry of the Econ­o­my sup­port­ed the idea put for­ward by the EU Com­mis­sion­er Con­nie Hede­gaard to raise emis­sion reduc­tion goals to 30 per­cent.1313Note that Hede­gaard has already revised her posi­tion. Cf. Der Stan­dard, 26 May 2010. In con­trast, for the Greens or NGOs such as Glob­al 2000, the reduc­tion goals of the EU are not ambi­tious enough. Both demand that the EU should com­mit itself to reduc­ing emis­sions by 40 per­cent.1414Die Grü­nen: Kli­makon­ferenz Kopen­hagen (last access: 16 May 2010); Glob­al 2000: Die 40 Prozent-Studie, 26 Jan­u­ary 2010 (last access: 22 May 2010).

As for the var­i­ous posi­tions on financ­ing mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion efforts in devel­op­ing coun­tries, the Greens and Glob­al 2000 are appar­ent­ly strong­ly in favour of finan­cial con­tri­bu­tions by the indus­tri­alised world. The Greens demand that the indus­tri­al coun­tries, as the main pol­luters, should pro­vide the devel­op­ing coun­tries 110 bil­lion Euros a year by 2020, while the lat­ter should have reduced their emis­sions by 15–30 per­cent by that time. Glob­al 2000, using the term “cli­mate jus­tice” and cit­ing a study by the Stock­holm Envi­ron­ment Insti­tute, holds that the “EU’s fair share of finances for the devel­op­ing world amounts to 150 bil­lion to 450 bil­lion Euros per year by 2020.”1515Glob­al 2000: 40% by 2020, 2009, p. 3 (last access: 22 May 2010). The deci­sion by the EU to pro­vide 7.2 bil­lion Euros in imme­di­ate aid to devel­op­ing coun­tries for mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion efforts was also wel­comed by the Mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Karin Kaden­bach from the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Aus­tria.1616SPÖ: Kaden­bach: Eini­gung zu Soforthil­fe für Entwick­lungslän­der zaghafter Schritt in richtige Rich­tung, 11 Decem­ber 2009 (last access: 20 May 2010). How­ev­er, she added that more mon­ey was required and that the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment had asked the heads of state and gov­ern­ment to pro­vide at least 30 bil­lion Euros in aid to the devel­op­ing coun­tries until 2020. The Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party’s sup­port for the amount offered was also con­firmed by the Party’s speak­er for Devel­op­ment Coop­er­a­tion, Petra Bayr.1717SPÖ: Bayr zu EU-Soforthil­fe: Erfreulich­es Ange­bot der EU an Entwick­lungslän­der, 11 Decem­ber 2009 (last access: 20 May 2010).

As for the ques­tion as to whether the UNFCCC is the best frame­work to reach a glob­al agree­ment on cli­mate pro­tec­tion, no rel­e­vant debate could be iden­ti­fied for the report­ing peri­od.


The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained there­in.