Europe Retreats From Clean-Energy Ambitions

GERDSHAGEN, GERMANY - JUNE 22: Wind turbines producing electricity spin in a field on June 22, 2012 near Gerdshagen, Germany. Germany is investing heavily in renewable energy sources as part of a government initiative to wean the country off nuclear, and eventually coal-based, energy. 
National Journal
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Clare Foran
Jan. 23, 2014, 1:41 a.m.

Amid rising en­ergy prices and a slug­gish eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery, European Uni­on of­fi­cials have backed down from their clean-en­ergy am­bi­tions.

The European Com­mis­sion on Wed­nes­day rolled out a con­tin­ent-wide pro­pos­al for Europe to pro­duce 27 per­cent of its en­ergy from re­new­able sources by 2030, Bloomberg re­ports.

This is in con­trast to an earli­er pro­pos­al the com­mis­sion had been weigh­ing to pro­pose high­er clean-en­ergy tar­gets for each EU mem­ber na­tion.

While the com­mis­sion did up its com­mit­ment to cut­ting green­house-gas emis­sions by sug­gest­ing a tar­get re­duc­tion of 40 per­cent in the same time peri­od, in­stead of 20 per­cent by 2020, en­vir­on­ment­al­ists balked at the less-than-hoped for clean-en­ergy pro­pos­al.

“The com­mis­sion’s plan for 2030 is a sel­lout that would knock the wind out of a boom­ing re­new­ables in­dustry,” said Mahi Sid­eridou, Green­peace’s EU man­aging dir­ect­or.

The com­mis­sion de­fen­ded its pro­pos­al, say­ing that it would strike a bal­ance between am­bi­tion and prag­mat­ism.

“It will re­quire a lot from Europe,” Con­nie Hede­gaard, European com­mis­sion­er for cli­mate ac­tion, told The New York Times. “If all oth­er big eco­nom­ies fol­lowed our ex­ample, the world would be a bet­ter place.”