The EU’s sweeping plan to tackle global warming has received a cool reception from industry and green campaigners. The proposed 20 percent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are well below the 25-40 percent target agreed at a UN meeting in Bali last month says Mahi Sideridou from Greenpeace:
“What they have done today shows they are on the right path. They have actually done a lot, so that they can be called a climate leader. They have not done enough, though, and that is what we need to see over the next couple of months by the European Parliament, by the European member states, the 27 member states, their governments. They need to make these proposals tighter and more ambitious.”
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament the cost of the plan would be manageable:
“So the effort needed to realise the proposals would be less than 0.5 percent of GDP by 2020. This amounts to about three euros a week on average for each European citizen.”
But some fear the burden may prove too heavy. At a time of soaring oil prices, industry leaders are worried that increased energy costs will tilt competitiveness further in favour of China and India, which have no emissions limits.
In addition, 20 percent of energy must come from renewable sources by 2020, versus eight and a half percent now.
Experts say this means bills for industry and householders will rise by up to 15 percent as the bloc gets more energy from the expensive clean technologies and power generators have to pay for their pollution permits from 2013.
EU members, environmentalists and businesses have the opportunity to discuss and amend the proposals before they become law.