Friday, March 09, 2007

Energy and Europe: Not Without Hope

That is what Angela Merkel said yesterday in Brussels:

The European Union should make a binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in relation to 1990 values and to increase by 20% the share of renewable energies. That is the goal Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has set her sights on. At the end of the first working day of the European Council meeting in Brussels, she appeared confident that on this point the Member States would reach agreement.

The Chancellor also made clear, however, that on the specifics more discussions were needed. "What we can achieve I will only be able to announce at the end of the Council."The atmosphere during the discussion in the evening, Angela Merkel noted in Brussels, had been very positive and constructive. The debate had been a very serious one, since the goal was highly ambitious. "We want the EU to make a binding commitment to this goal," she pointed out.

"It is important that we can tell the G8 members that Europe has made a real commitment. That gives us a measure of credibility," the Council President emphasized. There are two goals at stake, she noted.

The first concerned the share of renewable energies, meaning wind, water, sun and biomass. "Nuclear energy," she made clear, "does not fall into this category."

The second concerned the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. In this context nuclear energy could count as a low CO2 emitting energy source. This was an issue France in particular had raised.

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