EU energy plan will cost 60 billion euros

Posted: 23 January 2008

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has announced "historic" plans, aimed at cutting the EU's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. But UK environmental pressure groups said the EU plans were too weak and that Britain would need to do a lot more if it was to reach the targets it had been set.

In an effort to make Europe "the first economy for the low-carbon age", Barroso announcd measures which he said would cost €60 billion (£44 billion) a year across all member states - or 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product. This would be equivalent, he said, to 3 euros a week for every EU citizen, or £2.10. The aim was to cut the EU's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent 2020, rising to 30 per cent if there was global agreement. He told the European Parliament there was a cost, "but it was manageable". He said work had to start to cut global emissions in half by 2050 and that Europe could lead the way.

Friends of the Earth welcomed EU aspirations to lead the world in tackling climate change, but said that the EU target for cutting emissions was far too weak and that its climate plans must be strengthened.

At theh same time, Britain's current plans to develop renewable energy - outlined in the Government's Energy Bill - fell well short of what is required to meet its share of the EU renewable target, FOE said. Despite pledging to triple the amount of electricity generated from renewables by 2015, this was still less than half of what Britain should be aiming for from the electricity sector if it is to meet its EU target.

Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said:"The Government must revolutionise its support for renewables. We need policies that meet the scale of the challenge, including a far stronger target for large-scale renewables and generous, guaranteed payments to householders, communities and businesses that generate their own energy from solar panels and wind turbines."

The campaign group said that the target should be met by developing UK renewables - and not by 'buying in' renewable energy credits from overseas.

See more at FOE