EU agrees renewable energy target

7 March 2007

European Union leaders have agreed to adopt a binding target on the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, officials say. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Europe was now able to lead the way on climate change.

The 27 EU states will each decide how they contribute to meeting a 20% boost overall in renewable fuel use by 2020.

On Thursday March 7th, EU leaders agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by the same year.

Mr Barroso described the agreement as historic, saying it was the most significant in which he had played a part.

"We can say to the rest of the world, Europe is taking the lead, you should join us in fighting climate change," he said. "We can avoid what could well be a human calamity."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "These are a set of groundbreaking, bold, ambitious targets for the European Union. It gives Europe a clear leadership position on this crucial issue facing the world."

Looking ahead to the G8 summit of industrialised nations in June, Mr Blair said the European deal would give "a good chance" of getting the US, China and India on board too.

The EU plan involves:

  •  A 10% minimum target on the use of bio fuels in transport by 2020
  •  A commitment to increase use of solar, wind and hydroelectric power
  •  A possible ban on filament light bulbs in offices, street lights and private homes by the end of the decade

According to Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group: "This is a decisive step forwards from the EU. It will have taken tremendous political will to have 27 states agree to a set of targets that will accelerate the transformation of the EU's energy system. This is a challenge to the US and the rest of the world."

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