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Home arrow Blog arrow 1/22/08 EU Plan Sets Out Cuts for CO2 Emissions

1/22/08 EU Plan Sets Out Cuts for CO2 Emissions PDF Print E-mail
Written by AOIFE WHITE   
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
The European Union's plan for tackling climate change calls for imposing emissions cuts on member states, building more windmills and making it costlier for major polluters, according to documents to be unveiled Wednesday.

The proposals by the European Commission, the bloc's administrative body, are intended to get emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming down a fifth by 2020 — as pledged by leaders of the 27 EU nations last year.

Draft documents obtained by The Associated Press describe Europe and the rest of the world as being at a crossroads in dealing with global warming. The documents call for "decisive and immediate action" in developing homegrown renewable power sources.

But EU officials acknowledge their approach will carry a high cost — at least 0.5 percent of the bloc's gross domestic product, some $80 billion a year — and likely see electricity prices go up.

Businesses warned last week that driving up costs could make them less competitive in world markets. EU trade unions said they were worried by the risk of major job losses if companies move abroad, saying 50,000 jobs in the steel sector along were at risk.

The documents insist the spending envisioned by the plan would be balanced by a $72 billion reduction in the EU's bill for oil and natural gas imports. They also say forcing cuts in emissions and energy use would give Europe a boost in the race to produce energy-efficient goods and renewable power technology for export.

Richer nations would have to do the most to rein in emissions, while some poorer countries, such as EU newcomer Romania, would be allowed to increase emissions as their economies expanded. No country would have to cut emissions by more than a fifth from 1990 levels.

The plan envisions getting a fifth of the EU's energy needs from renewable power by 2020, up from 85 percent in 2004.

Many European countries would have to rapidly ramp up their amount of wind, solar or hydro power to hit new binding targets. Britain, which generated 1.3 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2005, is expected to be ordered to increase that to 15 percent.

Hydropower-rich Sweden, meanwhile, already is close to 40 percent, while Denmark's wind farms provided 17 percent of its energy.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 January 2008 )
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