The European Commission has pledged €60bn a year to cut green house emissions 20% by 2020.
President José Manuel Durão Barroso says the action, which amounts to about €3 a week for all Europeans, reflects "a new vision" on sustainable development.
He refuted the argument the changes come at too high a cost, saying "we can not put our heads in the sand and hope for the best”.
“The struggle against climate change and the quest for secure, sustainable and competitive energy touches on every European, every day,” Barroso says.
“The package of measures proposed… is the most far-reaching legislative proposals to be made by the European Commission for many years.”
Europe aims to reach 20% of energy use through renewables by 2020 and Barroso says an updated borderless Emissions Trading System will help to drive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from big industrial emitters.
The European Commission also proposes to introduce new rules to stimulate carbon capture and storage development.
Barroso outlined the commission’s five key principles:
- "Respecting the targets. Without this, we will not look serious, to investors, to our negotiating partners, and most importantly, to our citizens."
- "Second, fairness, recognising member states' different capacities to invest and their different starting points."
- "Competitiveness, designing a system able to minimise the costs to the European economy."
- "The proposals had to be designed to promote a comprehensive international agreement to cut greenhouse emissions, including stepping up our own effort to 30% emissions cuts."
- "We must also start work now to halve global emissions by 2050. This means working today to bring tomorrow's technology rapidly on stream."
“This package represents an opportunity for Europe to show itself at its best,” Barroso adds.
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