The European Parliament has approved by a large majority the EU’s groundbreaking climate and energy package, although concessions for industry fuelled criticism from environmental groups.
CO2 emissions from new cars should be cut by 18 percent by 2015. The biggest threat to a deal had been the opposition of the nine former communist states, which feared the costs for their highly polluting coal-fired power sectors. To bring them on board, the EU offered a partial exemption and agreed to give them 12 percent of revenues from the EU’s flagship emissions trading scheme, which, barring all the exemptions, requires that companies buy permits to pollute, this to become effective from January 2013. The 2020 goal is an overall decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, a 20 percent energy-saving and the provision from renewable energy sources of at least 20 percent of total energy consumption. The Europeans now feel well-prepared for negotiations on global climate agreements scheduled to take place in Copenhagen one year from now.