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Boosting jobs and growth through climate action - 23/01/2008

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Ambitious action plan unveiled to make a low-carbon Europe a reality.

You may have heard of the many targets the EU set itself in 2007 for 2020: 20% reduction in greenhouse gases; 20% increase in energy efficiency, and increasing renewable energy use to 20% of total energy consumption.

"Our mission, indeed our duty, is to provide the right policy framework for transformation to a low carbon European economy and to continue to lead the international action to protect our planet," explained commission president José Manuel Barroso.

The climate action package seeks to ensure the sustainability of the planet, provide new business opportunities for European companies and to improve the security of energy supply by bringing about a shift towards renewable energies.

Key elements of the new package include:

  • extension of the current emissions trading scheme (ETS) dating from 2005 to cover all major industrial emitters such as power plants, and to include more greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide (fertilisers) and perfluorocarbons (aluminium)
  • emission reduction targets for sectors not covered under the ETS (e.g. transport, buildings, agriculture) - each country has been set a fair national target based on a robust methodology spreading the burden
  • a legally binding target for each EU country on the increase of renewables in overall energy mix
  • a new legal framework for carbon capture and underground storage, to encourage investment in this costly process.

The commission is upfront about the costs involved. It is estimated that acting now will limit the inevitable cost of curbing climate change to well below 1% of GDP, as opposed to the 5-20% needed if no action is taken (Stern report).This works out at roughly 150 euros per person each year until 2020. What's more, savings on oil and gas imports alone – as the EU reinforces energy security - could amount to as much as €50bn per year.

It is hoped that this proposed package will be adopted by the end of 2008.

Aspects of climate action: competition, environment and energy

Climate action. Energy for a changing world – full package.

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