E.U. sets emissions goals, will raise bar if other countries join

Yesterday, European Union ministers agreed to a historic cut in greenhouse-gas emissions, and they’re prepared to take things even further if other nations join them (ahem). The Continent will aim for a 20 percent cut from 1990 emissions levels by 2020; they’d strive for a 30 percent goal if, you know, others joined them (ahem). “The unilateral commitment to cut E.U. greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 — the first of its kind — shows we’re willing to take concrete action on an issue that citizens care about,” said U.K. Environment Secretary David Miliband. AHEM. The ministers proposed that E.U. countries formerly under communist rule backdate their base levels to the more industrious 1980s, giving them credit for “cutting” emissions that disappeared along with their political and economic system. Meanwhile, other E.U. countries are considering major cuts; Germany, for one, has a 40 percent goal in its sights. Which is remarkably similar to the U.S. goal of — oh, no. Our bad.