MEPs urge stronger EU climate policies

The European parliament's environment committee has called for a crash programme similar to America's Apollo space programme of the 1960s to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

This should include a "transformation" of energy, transport and building systems, the committee agreed in a draft resolution.

The resolution will constitute the parliament's response to European Commission proposals for post-2012 EU climate change policies tabled early this year. The assembly will finalise the resolution next month.

All developed countries should aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions 15-30% by 2020 and 60-80% by 2050, the committee agreed. EU leaders adopted the first of these aims as official EU policy in the spring but rejected the second.

Europe should become the most energy efficient economy in the world by setting targets to cut energy intensity by 2.5-3% per year, the committee said. Average new car CO2 emissions should be slashed to 80-100 g/km "in the medium term", enforced through an emissions trading system.

Other measures demanded in the transport field included EU-wide speed limits, traffic charges and tax incentives. The committee also called for "severe reduction targets" for aviation emissions. A pilot emission trading scheme for the sector should start in the period 2008-12, MEPs said.

In the same period, the EU's industrial CO2 emission trading system should shift to benchmarking or auctioning to allocate allowances. The draft resolution also calls for new legislation to extend the EU's buildings and transport biofuels directives, and for rules to require all energy investments to apply best available technologies to cut emissions.

Regarding a global climate framework for the post-2012 period, the draft resolution calls for a continuation of binding emission targets, plus a global emission trading system and flexible mechanisms.

Republished with permission of Environment Daily



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