Tuesday, March 06, 2007

EU to decide on renewable energy boost

The European Union is divided on mandatory means of reducing global warming, DPA reports.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on the EU Tuesday to set a mandatory target for increasing renewable energy use.

Speaking ahead of the March 8-9 European Summit, he said the 27-member EU must commit to slashing greenhouse gas emissions and consent that 20 per cent of Europe's overall energy consumption in 2020 come from renewable energy sources.

France, Poland, Finland, Luxembourg and Bulgaria opposed the setting of obligatory targets, while others warned the 20 percent target was too ambitious.

Barroso is also to press EU leaders on agreeing to "unbundle" or break up their giant energy firms, by separating gas and electricity production and distribution activities.

However, most EU governments favor the simpler separation of energy production and delivery. One company could engage in both activities but keep them legally apart.

France said that any discussion on using low-carbon energies must also mention nuclear energy, a controversial and divisive issue in Europe. Barroso said the Commission did not want to get involved, but that countries must be free to choose whether to boycott or press ahead with nuclear energy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the summit agenda will be topped by measures to combat climate change. Germany currently holds the EU presidency.

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