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EU Energy Policy:
- Update November 2001

EU to Ratify Kyoto with New Actions

By Gunnar Boye Olesen, OVE / INFORSE-Europe

Just before the 7th Climate Convention Conference (COP7, Oct. 29-Nov. 9, 2001), the EU Commission proposed a strategy to reduce the emissions of the EU countries to reach the Kyoto targets.
Central in the strategy is a proposal for an EU directive that will make the burden-sharing of reductions among EU countries legally binding.
According to this burden-sharing, the targets of the 15 EU countries are different, varying from 21% reductions in Germany and Denmark, to increases in Spain, Sweden, and other countries.
Another cornerstone in the strategy is a proposed directive to establish an EU framework for emissions trading and an EU-wide market for emissions. EU emissions trading is expected to cover 4,000 - 5,000 installations that are responsible for 46% of CO2 emissions in the EU countries. In addition to this directive, another has been announced to link Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to the proposed EU emission-trading scheme. It will specify under which conditions “credits” from the international JI and CDM projects can be added to the allowances of the EU scheme and can be traded accordingly.

A series of other measures have also been announced as part of the strategy, including:
• Proposal for a framework directive for minimum efficiency requirements for end-use equipment, such as domestic appliances, motors, lighting and heating, as well as air-conditioning equipment;
• Proposal for a directive on energy demand management, including national targets for promotion and support of demand management;
• Proposal for a directive for promotion of combined heat and power (CHP);
• Initiatives to increase energy-efficient public procurement and to promote demand for energy-efficient technology from the public sector;
• Public-awareness campaign and campaign for take-off, to strengthen the ongoing campaign for take-off for renewable energy and to include energy efficiency in the activities;
• Strengthen the role of the existing Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, mainly in industry;
• Shift the balance of transport modes from roads to rail and waterways with a package of measures based on the recent “White Paper on a Common Transport Policy”;
• Proposals for improvements in transport infrastructure use and rate structures, to integrate environmental costs and reduce congestion. A framework directive and a directive for harmonising fuel taxes have been announced;
• Proposal for a biofuel directive, probably with national targets for biofuel use and with provisions to allow EU countries to reduce petrol- and diesel taxes on biofuels and on mixtures of mineral oil and biofuels;
• Proposal for a framework directive on fluorinated gases (strong greenhouse gases).

The Commission acknowledges that these measures might not be enough to reach the target of 8% reduction of greenhouse gases, and expects to continue the process of developing new measures. It even provides a list of 7 possible new measures, starting with an initiative on the promotion of heat production from renewable energy.
NGO View
NGOs have urged the Commission to present its strategy to COP7, but the list of proposals is not without problems, and some useful proposals are missing.
The strong emphasis on emissions trading make the entire strategy vulnerable to problems with this new and untested measure. Emissions trading is also a measure about which NGOs hold a range of opinions.
The proposal to couple the EU’s emissions trading with JI and CDM projects will make the strategy less efficient in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in EU countries. Further, the biofuels directive have been criticised by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) because it could increase agricultural pollution. The Danish Folkecenter for Renewable Energy has proposed that fuel-tax reductions should prioritise pure vegetable oils over processed biofuels and mixtures with mineral oil.
Missing from the strategy are the ideas of a European Sustainable Energy Agency, efficiency standards for power plants, and measures for renewable energy for heating, though the latter is included in the “waiting list”. Tthese energy measures have been proposed by NGOs in the preparations of the European Climate Change Program (see Sustainable Energy News no. 33 and 34).

More information:
Read the EU Commissions “Communication on the implementation of the first phase of the European Climate Change Programme” (COM 2001-580) at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/eccpl.htm