European Commission unveils climate, energy targets

The European Commission on Wednesday presented its climate and energy proposals for 2030, including a European Union-wide binding target for renewable energy of 27%.

Announced on the same day that the Commissioned called for a "European industrial renaissance" aimed at promoting economic growth, employment and "a more business friendly Europe," the climate and energy targets are an integral part of became part of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso’s overall plan to boost the European Union’s economic standing.

"Climate action is central for the future of our planet, while a truly European energy policy is key for our competitiveness," Barroso said. "Today’s package proves that tackling the two issues simultaneously is not contradictory, but mutually reinforcing.

"It is in the EU’s interest to build a job-rich economy that is less dependent on imported energy through increased efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy. An ambitious 40% greenhouse reduction target for 2030 is the most cost-effective milestone in our path towards a low-carbon economy. And the renewables target of at least 27% is an important signal: to give stability to investors, boost green jobs and support our security of supply."

The proposal has left many unimpressed, however.

Reporting from Brussels, U.K. newspaper The Guardian cited a number of disappointed industry watchers, including Greenpeace U.K. Executive Director John Sauven, who said, "After months of bickering and in-fighting the European commission has produced a set of proposals that will satisfy almost no-one. They will do little to tackle climate change and in their current form give little certainty to Europe’s once thriving but now fragile clean tech sector."

The Guardian also quoted Thomas Becker, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association, who added, "The previously far-sighted and ambitious European Commission is a shadow of its former self, hiding behind the U.K. and other backward-looking Member States and lobbies."

The European Council is expected to consider the proposals at its spring meeting in March.