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You are here: Home / News / Climate action and renewable energy package a major step forward

Climate action and renewable energy package a major step forward

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Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency (EEA), highlights the importance of the Climate action and renewable energy package unveiled yesterday by the European Commission in Brussels.

The rapid response of the Commission to the decision of last March's European Council shows a clear determination to sharply reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 20 % between 1990 and 2020. The proposed package, including effort sharing amongst EU Member States, is an important step in the context of the post-2012 global climate change negotiations

EEA Executive Director Prof. Jacqueline McGlade

'The rapid response of the Commission to the decision of last March's European Council shows a clear determination to sharply reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 20 % between 1990 and 2020. The proposed package, including effort sharing amongst EU Member States, is an important step in the context of the post-2012 global climate change negotiations'. These discussions are expected to conclude in Copenhagen by the end of 2009.

The Climate action and renewable energy package is a bundle of legislative proposals intended to fight global warming and limit the increased dependence of the European Union on imported energy. The package addresses renewable energies, including biofuels; how the overall EU greenhouse gas target will be shared between Member States; a revision of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), and a directive proposal on how to implement carbon capture and storage at power generation plants.

The EEA strongly supports the proposal for an overall binding target of a 20 % share of renewable energy in the total final energy consumption in the EU, recognising that a significant increase compared to the current level is needed to achieve the 2020 climate objectives, while, at the same time, contributing to enhance the security of energy supply in Europe.

'The key to getting the most out of these targets is to ensure that the highest possible GHG emission reduction is achieved, particularly if we want to see 10 % of road transport running on biofuels by 2020. I believe that there is now a need for further discussion on the sustainability criteria for biofuels in the legislative proposal. These criteria must ensure that biodiversity, water and soil are protected, and not just within Europe, but also in developing countries which are likely to become major biofuels exporters.'

The Commission package improves the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the largest GHG emission trading scheme worldwide. This system is a pioneer tool to achieve carbon emission reductions from large installations using fossil fuel. Further efforts to link the EU ETS to other similar trading systems in third countries also contribute to worldwide greenhouse gas reduction measures. 'Setting an EU-wide cap on emissions from the trading sector and an increased use of auctioning of carbon allowances can help meet the 2020 emission reduction targets in a cost-effective way'.

Professor McGlade confirms that climate change adaptation and mitigation are top priorities for the EEA. She underlines that decision makers will continue to get timely and accurate information on these important issues.

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