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Energy law: EU law falls short of energy-saving targets

The European Union's revision of a draft law to achieve energy savings will result in a significant reduction in the overall energy-saving target which can be achieved, according to analysis by the European Commission.

The analysis is included in a document leaked to news agency, Reuters. In it the Commission admits that objections from EU member states could derail the EU's current energy-saving target, which it was hoped would see emissions cut by 20% across the EU by 2020.

The Commission concludes that the legal proposal tabled by current EU president nation Denmark would represent only 38% of the energy-saving targets envisaged in the original targets.

The original proposals would have seen primary energy use cut by 151.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent. The latest Danish plans would see this cut by only 58.1 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

The Danes, who have a strong domestic record on green growth and energy saving, have made achieving an agreement on energy saving the crux of their six-month presidency.

Energy Minister Martin Lidegaard has admitted that achieving an agreement is proving tough. He believes that bridging the gap between current performance which is expected to deliver savings of 10%, and the original target of savings of 20%, could be undeliverable.

However Green members of the EU parliament have said that the EU cannot afford to lower its ambitions on energy saving. Claude Turmes is a Green MEP.

"The EU has a yearly 450 billion euro trade-deficit due to oil and gas imports. The EU energy efficiency directive is the vehicle to replace large parts of this cash flow out of the EU economy programme into local jobs and added value," he said.

The Commission agrees, and has published figures which show that improving energy efficiency could create 500,000 jobs and generate €34bn in GDP by 2020.

The major problem it says is finding upfront funding for energy-saving initiatives in the current difficult economic climate.

Jason Anderson is head of climate and energy policy at the WWF European Policy Office.

"This report confirms that the council's approach would be a disaster for Europe, failing to achieve energy-savings commitments and locking us in to wasting billions of euros annually," he said.

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