EU energy revolution still a distant dream | WWF
EU energy revolution still a distant dream

Posted on 10 January 2007

The European Commission’s proposals for a “new industrial revolution” in Europe’s supply and use of energy are a modest first step and should be strengthened if the EU is to lead the world in heading off the devastating environmental and economic impacts of climate change.

Brussels, Belgium – The European Commission’s proposals for a “new industrial revolution” in Europe’s supply and use of energy are a modest first step and should be strengthened if the EU is to lead the world in heading off the devastating environmental and economic impacts of climate change.

The Commission has proposed a target to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels. WWF says that a unilateral EU target of 30 per cent by 2020, in addition to support to developing countries for reducing their emissions, is the only hope we have of avoiding dangerous climate change by staying below a 2°C rise in global average temperatures.

WWF is looking to Germany, holder of the EU Presidency for the next six months, and other countries that like Germany are already backing the higher 30 per cent greenhouse gas reduction target (including the UK, Sweden and France) to fight for EU global leadership on climate change and strengthen the proposal at the European Council in March.

"What the European Commission calls a new industrial revolution conceals the fact that what we are talking about is massive changes in the way the entire economy works," said Stephan Singer, Head of WWF's European Climate and Energy Unit.

"We will need new ways to produce energy, re-think the way transport is organized and ensure new and highly efficient products are promoted to heat and light our homes and workplaces."

The energy package presented by the Commission falls well short of this new vision. Facing up to this transformation is full of opportunities for reducing our dependence on volatile energy imports, creating new energy efficient technologies and opening new green markets for European-produced goods and services.

“Too much emphasis is still given to oil and gas supply pipelines and other technical solutions and too little about the real possibilities to diversify energy sources giving priority to renewables and more efficiency,” added Singer.

“The paper is focused on the costs rather than benefits of fighting dangerous climate change. Europe will never become the leader in cutting greenhouse gas emissions globally if it sticks to this narrow approach.”

For further information:
Dr Stephan Singer, Head of European Climate and Energy Unit
WWF European Policy Office
Mobile: +32 496 550 709
E-mail: ssinger@wwfepo.org

Claudia Delpero, Communications Manager
WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 2 740 0925
Mobile: +32 497 406 381
E-mail: cdelpero@wwfepo.org

Two-thirds of Japan's greenhouse gas emissions come from its energy and industrial sector.
© WWF / Anton Vorauer