Europe demonstrates leadership in the battle for global environment 

By Maj-Britt Meyer Hansen, 12. March 2007

On Friday the European Heads of State and Government demonstrated leadership that will have an impact far beyond the frontiers of the EU.  Acting jointly, Europe is now setting the standard for the rest of the industrialised world in the battle against climate change and to promote the development of renewable energy.

- Setting binding objectives for renewable energy has clarified the need for future investment in the EU, says Jakob Juul, Senior Consultant at the Danish Energy Association.

The Danish Energy Association is in no doubt that the European energy sector is quite capable of delivering the goods as long as it knows where it stands.

- The single energy market means that frontiers will no longer be important.  Europe is also facing massive investment in new power stations and other forms of power generation.  It is therefore vital for the energy industry to know what will be required of it in the future, not just in Denmark, but throughout Europe, says Jakob Juul.

- The Heads of State and Government demonstrated both courage and clear-sightedness at Friday’s summit, but this is only the first step.  The EU has set ambitious objectives.  What we need now are concrete proposals setting out how the objectives can be achieved in the best conceivable way for Europe as a whole.

- If they are to be achieved, these ambitious objectives will demand unprecedented strength of purpose.  The deregulation of the energy markets will have to be completed, the European energy networks must be more cohesive and there will be no way of avoiding a debate on more shared means, such as joint criteria for subsidising renewable energy.

- For Denmark and Danish jobs it is vital that these ambitious objectives are achieved in a manner that ensures fair competition between energy producers throughout Europe.  We want a future in which the best enterprises win out, not just those in countries that offer the best subsidy schemes and most favourable allocation of CO2 quotas, says Jakob Juul.

Fact

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On Friday the EU Heads of State and Government set objectives that will require the EU to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 20 per cent by 2020, including through implementation of the Energy Action Plan that was also approved at the summit.

The EU has also committed itself to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent in relation to 1990 levels by 2020 if the EU’s international partners come on board.

The EU has decided on a binding objective of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.  This objective applies exclusively to renewable energy, with nuclear power not counting in this context.

The Heads of State and Government have also adopted a political ambition of increasing energy efficiency by 20 per cent by 2020.

Finally, a binding objective of at least 10 per cent biofuels in the transport sector by 2020 was also agreed.

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