EU close to agreement on climate plan - Piebalgs

04 December 2008 12:37  [Source: ICIS news]

EU close to agreement on climate plan - PiebalgsPARIS (ICIS news)--The EU was close to reaching an agreement on the climate change package, the EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said during a debate on the issue at the European Parliament on Thursday.

Piebalgs said there were only a few issues outstanding, most notably disagreement over whether Italy's demand for a review of the package in 2014 should be included.

The package aims to cut EU emissions by 20%, increase the amount of energy from renewable sources by 20% and boost energy efficiency by 2020.

The parliament felt that such a review could undermine the certainty for investment, said Piebalgs.

He confirmed that there would be no changes to the 20/20/20 binding targets, but said there was a need for flexibility.

The question of solidarity and how the burden should be divided between the member states remains an unsolved problem.

Poland, where 95% of electricity is produced from coal, is particularly concerned that its economy could suffer from over-stringent targets.

France's Jean-Louis Borloo, the environment minster representing the French EU presidency, said he hoped progress would be made on the issue at an EU meeting on 6 December in Poland with leaders of eastern European countries, including Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Progress on the issue of the proposed target that 10% of road-transport fuel should come from renewable sources by 2020 is believed to have been made in closed-door discussions.

The majority of the 10% was to have come from biofuels.

After much lobbying from environmentalists, it is understood that up to almost a third of the 10% goal could be met through electric cars and trains.

The Commission will also come forward with proposals in 2010 to limit indirect land-use change and promote a "double bonus" scheme for biofuels from non-food sources.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told MEPs that he remained "optimistic of a first-reading agreement" on in the plenary session on 15-18 December.

Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels
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By: Philippa Jones
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