A cable detailing a 2008 spat between the EU and US on climate change targets sheds light on the EU’s lack of ambition.
In a frank exchange on March 7, U.S. and European principals reviewed work on climate change under the Major Economies and UNFCCC Processes. U.S. principals secured EU Environment Commissioner Dimas' admission that current EU proposals will permit some EU Member States to record absolute increases in emissions by 2020.
Dimas conceded that “some EU Member States will be permitted under the EU's proposals to record an absolute increase in emissions by 2020.”
Jim Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality at the time, further questioned the EU’s achievements in relation to its Kyoto targets:
for Europe, 1990 as a reference year incorporates the early 1990s economic collapse of eastern Europe, which no policymaker would recommend be repeated; the UK's decision to move away from coal to natural gas, long before climate change was a policy issue; and the EU's use of diesel fuel, at the expense of air quality and human health.