The EU is challenging the world’s major polluters to join the fight against climate change.

It has drawn up a blueprint for tackling the problem – which includes massive cuts in greenhouse gases for Britain.

And EU ministers say the new rules could lay the foundations for a new international agreement on global warming with the US, China and India.

The overall aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 363m tonnes (20%) by 2020, but the scheme includes “automatic triggers” to take the cuts to the level of 30% if the remainder of the world signs up for similar action.
The draft legislation would see 20% of Europe’s energy mix coming from renewable sources by 2020, while our biggest polluters would have to cut their emissions by over 20%.

EU Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, says: “Climate change is the great project of our generation. Europe can be the first economy for the low-carbon age.”

The EU executive wants binding targets for each of the 27 member countries on both emissions and renewable energy to reach the goal of the 20% cut in greenhouse gases, as well as the 20% target for Europe’s energy mix being provided by renewables, and 10% of all road fuel deriving from biofuels. They estimate that the cost of their package would be about €3 a week for every European.

The bulk of the reduction in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions will come from a carbon trading scheme in which Europe’s biggest industrial polluters, such as power generators and oil refineries, buy and sell emission permits.
However, last week, a top businessman claimed that some of Europe’s worst polluting companies are currently being rewarded.

Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica which owns British Gas, said too many free permits have been handed out – and then sold on at a profit.

“Those with the highest CO2 emissions are actually being rewarded,” he said.

There have been calls for a change in the permit system which would see the price of permits increased and auctions held for permits.

The EU climate change legislation now needs to go through the European parliament and be endorsed by national governments before becoming law.

A short video from the government’s Act on CO2 project shows some simple things we can all do to reduce emissions.

Or you can enjoy a more entertaining advert for going green by joining in with the CO2 song




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