Friday, March 09, 2007

EU Leaders Adopt Binding Target On Renewable Energy Use

We can say to the rest of the world, Europe is taking the lead,
you should join us in fighting climate change.

- EC President Jose Manuel Barroso

We can avoid what could well be a human calamity.
- Angela Merkel, German Chancellor

It's not so easy being green--certainly it isn't easy to change hearts and minds and habits, even with fuel costs on the rise again--but the grownups in Europe are making the commitment anyway, hopefully setting an example for the cool kids across the pond in Washington, kids whose China-funded credit cards and bulletproof SUV's are looking less cool by the day:

European Union leaders have agreed to adopt a binding target on the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, officials say.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Europe was now able to lead the way on climate change.

The 27 EU states will each decide how they contribute to meeting a 20% boost overall in renewable fuel use by 2020.

On Thursday, EU leaders agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by the same year.

BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs says there is an air of real achievement in Brussels.

But, he says, the compromises over each nation's share of the burden in reaching the targets have yet to be negotiated, meaning the hard decisions may still lie ahead.

This is where global-warming deniers and anti-environmentalism wingnuts will start chirping about the unfairness of it. Why is more required of some countries and less of others? they'll ask. Look at Kyoto--we disagreed with that and got away with not ratifying it. Don't forget Kyoto!

Listen: the EU agreement is designed to recognize that member nations are all at different starting points in terms of implementing alternative and renewable fuels. The goal for each country is to achieve a given, measured, improvement from that starting point.

The EU plan involves:

  • A 10% minimum target on the use of bio-fuels in transport by 2020
  • A commitment to increase use of solar, wind and hydroelectric power
  • A possible ban on filament light bulbs in offices, street lights and private homes by the end of the decade


It is thought the EU could offer to extend its 20% target for emissions cuts to 30% if other heavy polluters like the US, China and India come on board.

Bravo, England, and Bravo, The Rest of Europe. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand, that sand will be underwater before long. At which point the family and I will simply head north, aiming the ship toward the flourescent bulbs glowing in the green and pleasant fog.

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