The European commission has urged nations in the EU to further invest in green technology and energy efficiency. They will shortly be issuing a road-map up until 2050 on this very subject. It is keen to get across the message that these countries may well lose out to competitors who are already investing larger amounts in these areas. While encouraging investment, the Commission isn’t giving out explicit targets for the cutting of emissions in the EU.
The main point of the road map is to reiterate the current target, that 20% be cut from the levels that were present in 1990 by 2020. To run alongside the road map, there will also be a proposal published which shows EU nations how they can speed up the clean up and efficiency process. It was back in 2008 that the 3 main targets were set for completion by 2020 –
20% would be cut from the emission levels in 1990
That at least 20% of energy would come from sources which were renewable
Energy efficiency would be increased overall by at least 20%
The bloc of EU countries concerned are well on course to achieve the first 2 targets, but as yet are not on to achieve the third. The rising cost of fuels is playing a major part in these directives. If they continue to rise at the rate they presently are, which looks extremely likely, renewable and nuclear powers are going to become very popular and new ways of producing them in vast quantities needs to be explored.
The cost of oil alone has almost doubled in 6 years, and looks likely to keep rising. Over 40 years, the commission estimates that if energy efficiency targets are met and the switch is made to low carbon, renewable energy sources, the saving in fuel costs to EU will be approximately €175-320bn a year.
New jobs should also be generated by this transition; the number of staff employed in renewable energy has doubles in the past 5 years. Countries like Korea and China have been investing heavily in the green sector for decades, and are now enjoying the fruits of that labour with robust economies and fuel efficiency that is the envy of the rest of the world. Whether the EU can match those standards remains to be seen, but it will be very interesting come 2010 to see exactly what has been achieved….and what hasn’t.