Energy and Climate Change in Europe, a New Package of Measures – What Role for Bioenergy? |

Energy and Climate Change in Europe, a New Package of Measures – What Role for Bioenergy?


“The move towards a low carbon society isn’t happening fast enough to secure the future of our environment” Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director

80% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Europe still come from the energy sector. The sector continues to have significant impacts on the environment, despite the fact that a more efficient production of electricity and heat, together with an increased share of renewable energy sources and replacement of coal and oil with gas, are gradually contributing to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas and air pollutants in Europe. The EEA’s 2008 Energy and environment report confirms that if Europeans simply stick by current policies and measures, energy consumption will continue to rise by up to 26% by 2030 - and fossil fuels will remain as the main source of supply. Business as usual is not an option for the energy sector and the move towards a low carbon society is not happening fast enough to secure the future of our environment. Energy from fossil fuels is the root cause of human induced climate change. The commitment of Europe to a post-carbon economy and sustainable renewable energy is essential for energy security and tacking climate change.
The 2008 Energy and environment report shows some positive findings with regard to the growth of the renewable energy sector and its potential to reduce emissions and improve air quality. But renewable sources only represented 8.6% of the final energy consumption in Europe in 2005 - some way short of the EU target to achieve 20% by 2020. Effectively, Europe needs large volumes of CO2-low or CO2-free energy. Being a region with few indigenous resources and biofuels, energy independence is a critical issue for Europe. A significant increase in the share of biofuels in the energy mix is seen by many to be the answer. In response to these challenges, the European Parliament approved a broad energy and climate change package on 17 December 2008 which covers all renewables, carbon storage, energy efficiency, emission trading and national targets. This includes a comprehensive agreement on how to reach 20% renewable energy and 10% biofuels. While the package is an important attempt to guarantee environmental quality of biomass and addresses many of the issues related to social and environmental effects, it fails to address the indirect land use effects and leaves a number of details to be worked out via committees.

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David Stanners, Head of International Cooperation at the European Environment Agency, Steering Committee member of the Asia-Europe Environment Forum(ENVforum)

Tuesday, 03 February 2009
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 2-3
Level 2, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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