Adoption of the climate change package by the European Parliament

With a strong majority, MEP has adopted the EU climate change package in Strasbourg.

MEPs voted on six proposals which together should enable the EU to meet its ambitious goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, improving energy efficiency by 20%, and increasing the share of renewables in the EU’s energy mix to 20%, all by 2020. The package also sets out the EU’s plan to commit to a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions if a satisfactory international agreement is reached.

The legislation agreed by the parliamentarians establishes a more ambitious Emissions Trading System (ETS), imposes emissions targets for new cars of 120g CO2 per kilometre and sets out a framework for the construction and operation of up to 12 demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. They also set binding national targets for each Member State to reduce emissions from sources not covered by the ETS (such as road and sea transport, services, buildings and agriculture) and revised the fuel quality directive to reduce the environmental impacts arising from the extraction, processing and combustion of transport fuels.

Many MEPs also hailed the agreement as ‘historic’.

However, many thought the legislation did not go far enough and others maintain that getting the package through the legislative process was a major achievement.

Green groups also thought the legislation could have gone further, with Greenpeace urging the EU to cut emissions by at least 30%.

On the research front, EuropaBio welcomed the vote, saying it gave the biotech industry a predictable business environment to develop advanced biofuels. ‘Setting a two-step approach for the greenhouse gas emission savings threshold, together with incentives for second generation biofuels will drive public support and increase private sector investment in research and development to speed up the development and commercialisation of second generation or advanced biofuels,’ said the Chair of EuropaBio’s Biofuels Task Force, Kirsten Birkegaard.

Meanwhile the car industry called for support to help it meet the targets set out in the climate package. ‘The legislation requires the industry to continue to invest heavily in R&D [research and development] and new product programmes in order to reach the short-term target,’ reads a statement from auto industry group ACEA.

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