Europe sets legally-binding carbon targets

Europe has become the first region in the world to set "far-reaching", legally binding climate and energy targets.

The European Commission announced its pleasure at the formal adoption of new measures relating to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from new cars and transport fuels.

Its commitment is to cutting greenhouse gasses to 20 per cent below 1990 levels and increase the share of renewable energy by 20 per cent by 2020.

Furthermore, the European Union will also aim to improve energy efficiency by 20 per cent in the same timeframe.

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the agreement was one of the top priorities of the body.

"The energy and climate change package represents the litmus test of Europe's ability to act for the benefit of its citizens," he asserted.

As part of the deal, Ireland and the UK have been legally-bound to reduce their emissions not covered by the European Emissions Trading Scheme by 13 and 16 per cent respectively, compared to 2005 levels.

They must also achieve a minimum renewable energy share of 17 and 15 per cent.



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