Merkel seeks tough climate measures

8th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

8 March 2007, Brussels (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said European Union leaders should set "clear targets" for fighting global warming at a two-day summit opening in Brussels. Urging EU leaders to unite on tougher measures to fight climate change, Merkel said plans to boost the use of renewable energies across the 27-nation bloc would create more jobs. Merkel's call for a mandatory target of 20 per cent for increasing the share of renewable energy use in overall EU energy consumption

8 March 2007

Brussels (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said European Union leaders should set "clear targets" for fighting global warming at a two-day summit opening in Brussels.

Urging EU leaders to unite on tougher measures to fight climate change, Merkel said plans to boost the use of renewable energies across the 27-nation bloc would create more jobs.

Merkel's call for a mandatory target of 20 per cent for increasing the share of renewable energy use in overall EU energy consumption by 2020 is being backed by the European Commission and Britain.

Sweden and Denmark have also come out in favour of a "binding commitment" to combat climate change.

Writing in Thursday's editions of Sweden's largest morning newspaper Dagens Nyheter and Danish daily Politiken, Danish Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Sweden's Fredrik Reinfeldt said the EU summit should agree to improve the EU's energy security and competitiveness.

They said setting an ambitious 20 per cent target for boosting the use of renewable energy was needed to "end the almost total dependence on fossil fuels in the transport sector."

But the renewable energy plan has run into opposition from several EU states, including France, which want equal attention for nuclear power.

EU newcomers, including Poland, also argue that poorer eastern and central European states, which still use coal-fired plants, do not have the resources to make a quick switch to renewable energies.

Merkel, however, has described combating climate change as "a global struggle" and said she wants ambitious EU action to become a good example for other countries, including the US.

At a meeting with the German chancellor and Barroso, however, EU business leaders said they opposed legally binding targets, arguing this would put Europe at a disadvantage compared to its competitors.

The European Commission - the EU's executive arm - has argued, however that legally binding rules are needed to boost investments in the renewables sector. It says its proposal could cut 780 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

There is less resistance to calls for a unilateral EU cut in emissions of greenhouse gases by 20 per cent in 2020 compared to 1990 levels - although governments are still bickering over how to share out the burden of such reductions.

Under the EU plan, the bloc could opt for an even steeper 30-per- cent cut if there is a post-Kyoto international climate change deal, including the US and other major global polluters.

EU Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs urged leaders not to postpone decisions on climate change. "If there is a chance, it's today or tomorrow," said Piebalgs.

DPA

Subject: German news

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