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EU leaders confirm Climate and Energy Package adoption timeline and key principles

At the spring European Council, the EU heads of State and Government have confirmed the commitment with which EU a year ago established its position as a leading force in the fight against climate change. They confirmed an ambitious schedule for the adoption of the package and fundamental principles as a basis for agreement.

"The climate and energy package represents a major step forwards and an appropriate starting point for an agreement with which Europe can prove it still has a leading role in international negotiations on a global agreement for the post-2012 period," underlined the  Slovenian EU Presidency.

The European Council put forward guidelines for further work, with particular emphasis on the following:

  • a call to reach agreement on the contents of the package by the end of 2008, enabling adoption of the package as early as possible in 2009;
  • the fundamental principles on which agreement should be based – transparency, economy and cost-efficiency, equity and solidarity, acknowledgement of the different starting points, specific situations and potential and previous efforts of Member States, the need to ensure sustainable economic growth and to prevent market distortion;
  • development of market mechanisms to achieve targets;
  • immediate analysis and action to prevent carbon leakage in sectors particularly exposed to international competition;
  • a more ambitious 30% reduction in CO2 emissions under a comprehensive global agreement, which should be based on a balanced, transparent and impartial approach, taking into account all the achievements reached in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol;
  • the importance of national and European support schemes for reaching the targets;
  • the importance of the legal framework for carbon capture and storage ('CCS' technology);
  • development of effective sustainable criteria for biofuels;
  • technological progress – research, development and penetration of new energy technologies to help reach targets.

We are aware that we need to further discuss the impact of climate change on economic competitiveness and employment. According to current findings, high environmental standards do not hinder competitiveness but actually create new markets and new jobs. One example of this is the number of jobs in the wind energy sector, which tripled in the period 1998-2005.

The Slovenian EU Presidency therefore believes that all European citizens should undertake "environmental commitments": every individual can, with very little effort or cost, help reduce their carbon footprint through simple methods such as using energy-saving light bulbs, turning down the heating or switching off the tap while cleaning their teeth.

The 2020 target is just the first step; the climate and energy package should enable the EU by 2050 to halve emissions in relation to 1990 levels.

Such action will not come cheap; however, the costs of inaction – already reflected to some extent in certain areas of health, economy, agriculture etc. – will be incomparably higher.


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Date: 14.03.2008