09 March 2007 13:18 [Source: ICIS news]
By Philippa Jones
PARIS (ICIS news)--The European Union (EU) will slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% and ensure that renewables provide 20% of Europe’s energy by 2020, heads of state and government agreed in Brussels on Friday.
After two days of talks, the German EU presidency persuaded member states to agree to cut emissions by 20%, compared to 1990 levels, increasing to 30% if other industrialised countries take action.
Chancellor Angela Merkel also succeeded in persuading ministers to accept a 20% binding target for renewables and agreed the burden would be shared between member states.
The European Commission (EC) will publish a proposal by the third quarter of 2007 setting out the different targets for the 27 member states, said commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
It was expected that most Eastern European countries would be given less rigorous targets than the more developed Western European nations, whose renewables technology tends to be more advanced.
France - which gets 80% of its power from nuclear power plants - along with the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Slovakia, failed to get nuclear power to be included as part of the 20% renewables target.
Renewable energy sources currently account for less than 7% of EU energy use and Merkel said the commission would offer legislation with genuine incentives to encourage countries to invest in them.
Member states also pledged to increase energy efficiency by 20% and to ensure that at least 10% of transport fuel in all member states was provided by biofuels by 2020.
The deal would guarantee innovation and enable the EU to take up its proper vanguard role in the area of climate change, said Merkel.
The chancellor added that she would now use her time at the head of the G-8 to encourage other countries to take similar action.
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