Date: Thu, 15 Oct 98 22:55:21 CDT
From: Mark Graffis <>
Article: 45398
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EU's Papoutsis says greener energy the only option

Reuters, [15 October 1998]

BRUSSELS—European Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis said on Wednesday the 15 European Union states had no option but to adopt more environmentally sustainable methods of energy production and use.

Business as usual in energy policy is no longer an option, Papoutsis told Reuters.

The European Commission, the EU's executive, was due later on Wednesday to publish a discussion paper outlining proposals for making member states' energy policy more environmentally friendly.

The paper will urge EU governments to focus on encouraging efficient use of energy, increasing renewable energy resources like wind, wave and solar power, and reducing damage to the environment from the use of conventional energy sources like oil, coal, gas and nuclear power.

We have to be more environmentally friendly in the way we produce and use energy if we are to respond to the challenges of global climate change, as well as local environmental problems in our cities, Papoutsis said.

I am committed to a greener energy policy promoting renewable energy sources and energy saving as a priority. But a stronger political commitment is needed from the member states.

Electricity supply industry sources predict the EU will fail to meet the target it agreed at world climate talks last December to slash output of carbon dioxide—produced by burning fossil fuels—and five other greenhouse gases to eight percent below 1990 levels by 2008–2012.

In its discussion paper, the Commission will point out that it has already put a string of proposals for greening the energy industry before EU governments, including plans to double the share of renewables in the fuel mix from six to 12 percent. It will stress it is now up to ministers to turn these energy proposals into law.

The Commission is due to present energy ministers, when they next meet on November 13, with plans for harmonising measures to promote use of renewables, in a bid to prevent distortion of competition between nations as the bloc prepares to create a single EU energy market.