Reactions to the climate action plan highlight opportunities and objections. Brussels tried to soften the impact on industry, which is worried about competitive fitness. Philippe de Buck, for BusinessEurope, is alarmed about paying for quotas in the Emissions Trading Scheme:
“We have double cost. On the one hand, because we are talking here about energy-intensive industries, they will have to face an increase of electricity prices. And secondly, we will have to invest a lot in new technology – which is good, because that will strengthen the industry. But we don’t want to (also) have a cost for the allowances.”
The U.N. panel on climate change last year warned of impending higher sea levels and more floods and droughts. Stephan Singer speaks for environmental movement WWF: “WWF is disappointed by many European governments do not speak up loudly and say ‘We want a 30% emission reduction by 2020, because this will allow us to combat climate change – to stay below two degrees global warming.”
Companies with a head start in renewable energies are predicting a bright future. Isabelle Valentini is with the European wind energy association, building giant turbines. She says investment in her sector is already substantial. It increased by more than a third in 2007. “This plan will attract more investors, serving to maintain a stable market, which will continue to expand.” State aid for evironment-friendly power generation schemes will be allowed to cover the difference between production costs and market prices.