EU Looking for 25 Percent Energy Cut

A 25 PERCENT reduction in harmful emissions by 2020 is achievable according to a draft copy of the EU's 'roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050.'

The long-awaited document, due to be published next week, has been seen in draft form by EurActiv and provides a twist to the current energy efficiency debate in the European Union (EU).

The EU's current goals for 2020 includes improving energy efficiency by 20 percent, reducing emissions by 20 percent on 1990 levels and increasing the share of renewables by 20 percent.

The twist to the debate is whether the economic crisis has made a 30 percent emissions reduction more realisable, the draft document says implementing the EU's stalling energy savings goals would reduce emissions by a further 5 percent.

"The analysis shows that the cost-efficient pathway to the necessary reduction in 2050 requires a 25 percent domestic reduction in 2020," the paper reads. "It also shows, however, that the EU can produce this reduction if it delivers on its existing commitment to increase energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2020."

EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, maintains that the offer to reduce emissions by 30 percent, agreed by EU leaders on the condition that other big polluting countries follow suit, is wholly unrelated to the roadmap.

"We're proposing new exercises, models and energy efficiency measures to liven the debate up," a Commission source revealed to EurActiv. "We're being active and stepping up our policies and plans so that we're even more ambitious. The commissioner would never diminish her commitment to the 30 percent target."

Nonetheless, the 25 percent number will inevitably be viewed in the context of Brussels horse-trading, as it sits elusively between the 20 percent and 30 percent CO2 reduction targets. And failure to reach it will most likely be blamed on the Commission's current inability to enforce binding energy savings goals.

The roadmap document, dated 9 February 2011, is mostly a cost-analysis of the various steps needed to reach the EU's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 percent on 1990 levels by 2050.

It sets suggested targets for emissions reductions in 2020 (25 percent), 2030 (40 percent), 2040 (60 percent) and 2050 (80-95 percent). It also offers modeling and sectoral breakdowns of the most cost-efficient "pathways" it sees for achieving these.

Over a 40-year period, savings from energy efficiency and renewables are expected to net reductions in the EU's average fuel costs of between €175 billion and €320 billion per year, depending on the extent and speed at which climate action is taken.

Wednesday 16th February 2011

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