Building blocks of Europe’s 20/20/20 Package

The European Parliament’s decision to approve the EU climate package in December 2008 (ENDS Report 407, pp 4-5) brought to a close an intense year-long debate over the so-called "EU 20/20/20" climate and energy package launched by the European Commission in January 2008 (ENDS Report 397, p 46).

The ambitious package, aimed at cutting EU greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2020 relative to 1990, providing 20% of the bloc’s energy from renewable sources by that year and cutting primary energy use by 20%, has been approved largely intact, together with a directive on carbon capture and storage.

It will cost up to €90 billion to 2020, says the Commission, and reduce the EU’s GDP by 0.35-0.5% by that year. But, says Brussels, it should avert an even bigger long-term loss of GDP caused by climate change, provided the world’s other big emitters commit to similar action. Savings in energy imports and air quality improvements should also result.

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