European Union leaders have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming by 20 percent by 2020. At a summit in Brussels, Chancellor Angela Merkel of the EU’s current presiding nation Germany said this was in a bid to lead global efforts to combat climate change.
She told a news conference after the first day of a two-day meeting that further discussion was required on setting objectives for renewable energy sources and biofuels but that she was hopeful of an agreement on binding targets this Friday.
“Europe is playing a pioneer role. All the member states agree on this – that they want to do this. And we have to persuade our partners outside the Union to pursue equally ambitious goals,” she said.
Merkel said the leaders’ intention is “to reach 20 percent of generation from renewable energies as a European average.”
The EU is looking at cutting its total emissions by a fifth by 2020, or almost a third if other major players come aboard. As high as 80 percent cuts are foreseen by the middle of this century. Regarding worries about the cost of this, Merkel answered that continuing to pollute could be even more costly.
Renewables currently account for less than seven percent of the EU energy mix.
France is the leading proponent of nuclear power as a viable tool against climate change – it produces very little carbon dioxide. But others, notably Austria, are fiercely opposed to nuclear power.