In just over a decade, Europe should have cut pollution by a fifth and 20 per cent of all its energy should come from renewable sources. The European Commission has just adopted proposals to transform those targets into reality. The Emissions Trading Scheme will be extended to include more industrial sectors.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso estimates that the plans will cost around 60 billion euros a year. The adoption comes despite intensive industry lobbying. Clean energy from renewable sources such as the wind or sun is more expensive than that from fossil fuels. Energy companies say this means higher bills.
If the proposals get the green light from the European Parliament and member states, Brussels will set either national or EU-wide caps for the amount of pollution each sector is allowed to produce.
In the future, 10 per cent of Europe’s road transport must be powered by bio-fuels. Some industry bodies have warned they may move production away from Europe if it becomes too expensive.
But environmentalists say the proposals do not go far enough. They argue scientific evidence shows greenhouse gases must be reduced by at least 30 not 20 per cent to prevent a climatic catastrophe.