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The climate and energy package

The climate and energy package, a set of measures agreed by the EU in 2008 to implement the so-called "20-20-20" targets, aims at transforming Europe into a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy. The package is expected to reduce the EU's dependency on imported fuels but also to ensure that European businesses are at the forefront of the future's green technologies.

The "20-20-20" targets

The EU Heads of State and Government have set a series of demanding climate and energy targets to be met by 2020, known as the "20-20-20" targets. These are:

  • A reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions of at least 20% below 1990 levels
  • 20% of EU energy consumption to come from renewable resources
  • A 20% reduction in primary energy use compared with projected levels, to be achieved by improving energy efficiency.

Fighting climate change, increasing energy security and strengthening competitiveness

The climate and energy package, which became law in June 2009, entails:

  • A revision and strengthening of the Emissions Trading System (ETS), the EU's key tool for cutting emissions cost-effectively.
  • An "Effort Sharing Decision" governing emissions from sectors not covered by the EU ETS, such as transport, housing, agriculture and waste.
  • Binding national targets for renewable energy which collectively will lift the average renewable share across the EU to 20% by 2020 (more than double the 2006 level of 9.2%).
  • A legal framework to promote the development and safe use of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

"Ambitious targets – that is what drives innovation, what makes industries dare to invest in transitional technologies and what keeps governments' attention into an area also in tough times. Personally I think it is no coincidence that of the three targets we had in the 20-20-20 climate and energy package, we are on track to meet two binding targets - on CO2 emissions and on renewables. But we are not on track to meet the non-binding energy efficiency target, although it would make a lot of economic sense to pursue that target." Connie Hedegaard

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Last update: 04/11/2014 | Top