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New EU energy paper lacks vision for sustainable use of resources


08 Mar 2006, Brussels, Belgium The energy strategy for Europe presented today by the European Commission is guided only by concerns on security of supply, but lacks a long-term vision for a sustainable and efficient use of resources.

The Green Paper on a European strategy for secure, competitive and sustainable energy for Europe mentions six priority areas that face increasing energy demand: energy policy in EU external relations, energy mix, internal supply, climate change, technology and innovation, jobs and growth.

While the paper includes a good analysis of the energy challenges that Europe must face in the coming years, it does not properly address climate change in a wider perspective. It is particularly weak on energy efficiency and renewable energies, as it does not call for targets, nor for strengthened legislation.

Gas and oil prices are likely to remain high, therefore a share of 25 per cent of renewable energies is economically desirable and easily achievable in the EU by 2020" says Stephan Singer, Head of WWFs European Climate and Energy Unit.

"When talking about investments, the EU still seems to give priority to traditional sources, such as coal and gas that are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable. It is not by building new pipelines across the continent that the problems of energy supply and climate change will be solved. What Europe needs from the EU Commission is a long-term vision, with clear guidance on action to boost energy efficiency and renewable energies.

According to WWF, two opportunities to adopt strong EU legislation on energy efficiency were lost last year when the directives on electricity-consuming products and on energy services failed to include mandatory targets to be achieved by EU Member States.

As the Green Paper will be discussed by the EU Energy Council on 14 March, and by EU Heads of State and Government meeting at the European Council in Brussels from 23-24 March, WWF asks EU Ministers to adopt a strong energy efficiency target for the EU in order to cut energy consumption by at least 1 per cent per year across all economic sectors, including transport and housing.


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