On 22 January 2014, the European Commission published the European Union’s ‘2030 Framework for Climate and Energy’, setting out targets for greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. The proposals will now be discussed by member states, the European Parliament and the European Council. On 5 February 2014, the European Parliament voted for stronger targets than those the commission had proposed.
The EU’s current targets for 2020 are as follows: a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels; at least 20 per cent of energy consumption to come from renewable sources (quotas sharing this target between member states gave Britain the binding national target of 15 per cent); and a 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency (this target was not binding).
If current trends continue, Europe is likely to exceed these targets given that the current reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels is 18 per cent. However, prior to the commission’s announcement, commentators remarked that the commission’s 2030 proposals are being put forward from a very different economic perspective than the 2020 proposals were in 2009. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the cost of subsidising expensive renewable technology has been responsible for increased energy prices — one study found that there would be a £400 increase in energy bills in the next six years in order to pay the government subsidies required to meet renewable energy targets…
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