Off the mark

Off the mark – Spectrum

Even with new policies to promote cleaner energy, the European Union (EU) will not be able to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide ([CO.sub.2]), according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) chief economist, Fatih Birol. IEA forecasts indicate that the EU could boost shares of renewable power such as wind and solar energy to 30 percent of overall electricity generation by 2030, but emissions would not be sufficiently reduced to meet climate change targets. “Fossil fuels will still dominate,” says Birol. Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the EU must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases–of which [CO.sup.2] is the most important–by 8 percent of 1990 levels by 2012. IEA estimates that, compared to a “business-as-usual” scenario, renewable energy policies would cut emissions by only 4.9 percent by 2010 and 19 percent by 2030, which still is an overall rise due to increased demand for transportation (which runs mostly on oil products) and the long life span of traditional e lectricity plants. However, the European Commission’s spokesperson on environment, Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen, is optimistic: “We still believe that the EU can meet its target, but we need to implement key elements of the European climate change programme.” These elements include the commission’s proposals to improve energy efficiency in buildings and establish an emissions trading scheme that would set maximum levels for industry [CO.sub.2] outputs.

–Reuters, 4 October, accessed via (C.B.)

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