In the meeting of the European Council this week, the heads of the EU member states agreed on binding targets on the use of renewable energy, including a 10% biofuel component in transportation, and to post-Kyoto reductions on greenhouse gases.
Their action endorses the three-year action plan toward a common European energy policy proposed by the European Commission earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The Council emphasized the “vital importance” of achieving the strategic objective of limiting the global average temperature increase to not more than 2° C above pre-industrial levels.
he European Council reaffirms that absolute emission reduction commitments are the backbone of a global carbon market. Developed countries should continue to take the lead by committing to collectively reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases in the order of 30% by 2020 compared to 1990. They should do so also with a view to collectively reducing their emissions by 60% to 80% by 2050 compared to 1990.
The European leaders agreed to cut CO2 emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020 on their own, and by 30% if other nations commit themselves to comparable reductions.
They also set a binding target of a 20% share of renewable energies in overall EU energy consumption by 2020 and a 10% binding minimum target to be achieved by all Member States for the share of biofuels in overall EU transport gasoline and diesel consumption by 2020.
The binding character of the biofuels target is appropriate subject to production being sustainable, second-generation biofuels becoming commercially available and the Fuel Quality Directive being amended accordingly to allow for adequate levels of blending.