Praise for "Most Ambitious" Energy Plan following Cameron's EU Green Agenda Push

Support for tough new targets - but Conservative MEP warns more support of nuclear energy will be needed

Brussels, 10th January 2007 — Ambitious proposals to tackle one of the most pressing global problems facing us all have been announced, just weeks after leader of the UK Conservatives David Cameron stressed a need for the European Union to take positive action on the environment.

The EU will aim to become the world’s most energy efficient region, with proposed targets to improve its energy efficiency by 20 per cent compared to 1990 levels, with one fifth of the overall energy mix sourced from renewable energy, by 2020.

If successful, in 13 years time the EU would be using 13 per cent less energy than today, saving around 780 billion tonnes of CO2 each year, through various means including making better use of public transport, tougher standards and better labelling of appliances, improving the energy performance of existing buildings and making very low energy houses the norm for new builds.

The European Commission this afternoon puts forward the most important and ambitious energy package it has ever presented, with more than 75 measures included, and calls on the European Parliament and Council to underline the priority of reaching an effective international agreement to combat climate change.

The Emissions Trading Scheme and Internal Energy Market are also key components to achieving the tough targets.

But tough action is needed. Europe currently wastes at least 20 per cent of the energy it uses and energy accounts for 93 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. It is at the root of climate change.

And recent events have highlighted the risks of being overly dependent on gas and oil.

In Brussels last month, Mr Cameron said the EU has the power to do something and can connect with voters through positive action on the environment and global poverty.

He added that emissions trading can be made to work without the need for institutional reform.

An EU poll revealed a majority of people believe decisions on new energy challenges should be taken at an EU level*.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP and deputy leader of the Conservative delegation in the European Parliament said: “I welcome the Commission’s Energy Policy for Europe and support almost every element set out in the document aiming for security of supply and sustainability.

“But the glaring omission is the inadequate promotion of the role of nuclear energy in achieving these objectives.

* In a Eurobarometer poll last year, 47 per cent of people polled said they would prefer EU level decisions on new energy challenges like supply security, growing consumption and climate change, while 37 per cent and eight per cent prefer such decisions on a national or local level respectively.

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