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Achieving 20 % less CO2 by 2020

March 16th, 2008 by Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Energy

Which mix of policy tools is required to achieve the 2020 objective? My answer is we need both market based instruments and regulations. I recently discussed this issue in a Conference on Integrated Climate and Energy Policy at Bocconi University. Here is the videopodcast.

The conference was organized by IEFFE. Here is a link to access to the whole programme and videorecording.

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One Response to “Achieving 20 % less CO2 by 2020”

  1. Cédric Mollard Says:

    The EU policy on this issue is ambitious. Thus, it is imperative that the plan the EU will put in place have a broad span of methods to address it. Only such a wide approach can allow the EU to reach its objectives and do so in the most economical way. In this speech, M. Piebalgs mainly stresses the need to reduce CO2 emissions using “both market based instruments and regulations”. However, he also refers to some other solutions which also have a role to play and that should be further analysed.

    Among them is the reduction of energy consumption. The study (related to directive 2005/32/EC) that is being carried out on energy using products is a first step towards reducing energy consumption. We can only regret that every study in this particular field is limited by the amount of data related to appliance ownership and energy in Europe. Curbing energy consumption can only be made possible through a comprehensive and accurate examination of the use of energy: the EU must take some actions to quickly gather detailed information regarding this matter, only then will it be able to promote an effective energy policy.

    The utilisation that is made of energy using products is a key element to cutting back on energy consumption. As a consequence, the end-user should be aware of his impact on the environment, the labelling is an innovative solution that proved its effectiveness every time it was used. As M. Piebalgs puts it, “Carbon emissions should have a price”, let us give them the tag that goes with it! Regulation is one thing but it is even more effective to penalize manufacturers by making sure European consumers buy their appliances always keeping in mind their environmental impact. Wouldn’t that be more effective than usual incentives? More actions have to be taken so that European citizens are more sensitive to this particular aspect, this can be done in our schools, with advertisement campaigns… The effects would extend to areas that have been proved difficult to include in the trading system, mainly transport.

    A good policy is a policy that allows change and adaptation. Therefore, a concrete path should be determined regarding the extension of the ETS system after 2012. M. Piebalgs is perfectly right to mention it but these words must be followed by decisions and figures in order for companies to act accordingly. There is, in my opinion, one major hurdle that still needs to be cleared for this to happen: Europe has to convince the rest of the world to walk this path. That should be the cornerstone of the European policy and signing a 20-20-20 agreement without clearly specifying what the consequences would be if a country doesn’t reach its target is everything but a good start.

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