Speak Up Energy

Energy and climate change

EU heads of state and governments broadly endorsed the Commission’s proposals at a landmark summit in March 2007, agreeing on a two-year action plan to launch a common European energy policy.Central to the summit agreement is a recognition that energy and climate-change policies should go hand in hand. It stressed the need for “decisive and immediate action” on climate-change and underlined “the vital importance of achieving the strategic objective of limiting the global average temperature increase to not more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels“. To achieve this aim, EU leaders agreed to:

  • a binding target to slash the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2020 compared with 1990 levels. EU leaders agreed that the objective should be pursued “unilaterally” even if there is no international agreement on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions after 2012 when the
    Kyoto targets expire;
  • a commitment to reduce emissions by 30% provided that other industrialised nations, including the US, commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and that “advanced developing countries” (i.e.: China and India) contribute as well in the framework of a post-2012 agreement.

To achieve these objectives, the summit endorsed an action plan to be implemented between 2007 and 2009. The plan’s main elements include:

  • Completing the internal market for electricity and gas;
  • a binding target to raise the EU’s share of renewables to 20% by 2020;
  • an obligation for each member state to have 10% biofuels in their transport fuel mix by 2020;
  • boosting energy efficiency with a target to save 20% of the EU’s total primary energy consumption by 2020. New initiatives here include proposals for an international agreement on energy-efficiency standards for consumer appliances;
  • aiming towards “a low CO2 fossil fuel future” with support for ‘clean coal’ technology, using carbon capture and storage deep underground;
  • developing a common external energy policy to “actively pursue Europe’s interests” on the international scene with major supplier, consumer and transit countries, including
    Russia;
  • developing a European Strategic Energy Technology Plan to focus R&D efforts on low carbon technologies, and;
  • on nuclear, the Commission chose to take an “agnostic” stance, leaving it up to member states to decide.

From Eur Activ

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