UN climate talks in Bonn. What role for the EU at the negotiation table?

Yesterday, negotiators reconvened in Bonn for another round of technical climate discussions that will last until 14th June. This time the key talking points of the meeting will focus on climate mitigation as well as on proposals on how to scale up renewable energy and energy efficiency policies.

If the negotiations on climate mitigation are evolving at snail's pace, things look slightly brighter when it comes to energy issues. The parties have accepted the AOSIS proposal to hold technical workshops on energy efficiency and renewable energy, which will hopefully convince countries that moving to a greener energy system offers plenty of opportunities and encourage them to raise their CO2 emission reduction targets. The recent creation of a pro-renewable alliance of 10 countries (including China, Denmark, the UK and South Africa) led by Germany, is also a very positive move. Members of this 'Renewable club' - which had its first meeting in Berlin on 1 June - will join forces to intensify work on implementing renewable policies at a global level.

However, despite all the good efforts from German Environment minister Peter Altmaier to give a serious push to the development of renewable energy sources across the world, most of his European counterparts does not seem to have realised yet that abandoning fossil fuels is clearly in their interest

Recent studies have shown that the EU targets of generating 20% of the EU's energy from renewable sources by 2020 spurred huge growth in the sector and created thousands of jobs. Yet most of the EU states continue resisting new binding EU targets for renewable energy sources for 2030. The consequence of such a resistance is dramatic, new green businesses holding off their investments because of uncertainty over the EU's clear support for such development.

Once again it looks like the EU is missing great opportunities, preferring to support its old polluting industries and fossil fuel companies and putting at risk tens of billions of Euros of green investment and tens of thousands of new jobs instead of leading the way forward and playing a key role in the international climate negotiations.

Recently, the US and China showed that they are intensifying their collaboration. If the EU is willing to have an influence on the international stage and lead the climate discussions, it will have to stop avoiding the climate challenge and start developing clearer ideas on a way forward. Supporting energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources within its own territory would be a good start.

In these times of economic crisis the EU does not look like it is willing to protect the climate. But it certainly does not look like it's willing to protect business opportunities either.