The EU agreed on ambitious carbon cuts last year. Now it needs to follow through with action to meet the targets – and benefit the economy too. Hence the proposals unveiled on 23 January.
"This week the European commission will move to turn the European Union's commitments into concrete action," president Barroso said. "Tackling climate change is crucial to safeguard the future of our planet. It also brings major new opportunities for Europe. The time has come to seize them with confidence, and with both hands."
The proposed measures include:
- an improved emissions trading system (ETS) covering more emissions and allowing firms in one EU country to buy allowances in any other.
- an emission reduction target for industries not covered by the ETS (e.g. buildings, transport, waste) so that everyone is contributing
- legally enforceable targets for increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix – the targets will reflect each country's individual needs and its potential
- new rules on carbon capture and storage and on environmental subsidies.
Last March, EU leaders endorsed commission proposals to cut CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020 (30% if global targets can be agreed on) and to set a binding 20% target for the use of renewable energy sources. The overall goal is to cap global temperature increases at 2°C.
The proposals aim at a more environment-friendly Europe. But they will also help create a more industry-friendly, jobs-friendly, and consumer-friendly EU.
The commission hopes to see the package adopted by the end of 2008.