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News in Brief, BB200711

EU Climate and Energy Package postponed

12.12.2007

The European Commission has delayed a package of proposals for increasing the use of renewable energy sources and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions until early 2008.

Originally to be published on 5 December, the package was to contain targets on renewables and national cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, clean coal and carbon capture and storage as well as an overhaul of the emissions trading scheme. The aim was to come out with the proposals before the Climate Conference organised by the UN in Bali on 3-14 December, where world leaders are discussing plans for the post-2012 phase of the Kyoto Protocol on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

The reasons for the delay are controversial. According to the Luxemburgish Green MEP Claude Turmes, it is due to “political circumstances” rather than to “technical reasons” as claimed by other sources from the Commission. It is speculated the real aim of the delay is to avoid a situation where bickering among member states over individual targets could compromise a common EU front when it attempts to convince other major greenhouse gas emitters, including the US and China, to sign up to binding reduction targets for the next decade. On the other hand, the delay can also be perceived as extra time for further consultations on the proposals between the EU leaders and the 27 member states, and an opportunity for the EU to take the outcome of the Bali conference into account.

In March 2007, the EU agreed to have 20% of power from renewable sources by 2020. It also agreed to cut emissions - mainly of carbon dioxide blamed for global warming - by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and by 30% if the rest of the world joins in. It also agreed to the details of how the EU will achieve its goals are still in the drafting stage and the most controversial point is the division of the overall targets between the Member States. The so-called “burden-sharing” of the emission targets will be presented in the proposals and will then have to be endorsed by national governments.

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