THE GREENS/EFA IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
PRESS RELEASE – Brussels, 7 March 2007
EU Summit –
EU leaders must not be distracted by ‘low-carbon’ red herring
In advance of the Spring European Council, 8-9 March, which will focus on climate and energy policy, Finnish Green and vice-chairperson of the EP Environment Committee Satu Hassi said:
“The build-up to the summit has been characterised by the efforts of different Member States to dodge the bullet on combating climate change. Fierce resistance to setting 2020 emissions reductions targets means that the EU is likely to shy away from committing to a clear 30% reduction, which scientists argue is the minimum reduction developed countries need to make.
“The climate bullet cannot be dodged however: climate change is happening and failure to take robust action now will only compound the crisis and the costs later. EU leaders need to realise that time is money when it comes to climate change and ensure all transport and energy policies are designed to deliver a 30% reduction in our emissions by 2020. “
On the energy measures to be discussed at the summit, Greens energy spokesperson Claude Turmes added:
“Agreeing a binding target for renewable energy in the EU is the bare minimum of what needs to be done. EU leaders must not allow the summit to be blackmailed by the nuclear industry, through its outgoing proxy Chirac. The attempt by the nuclear industry to put separate ‘low-carbon’ targets on the agenda is a red herring. First and foremost, nuclear is not a European-wide technology and is rejected by the majority of Europeans, so how can we set EU targets? However, the type of expansion the nuclear industry is looking for is neither physically nor financially possible (1).
“The Greens have consistently called for a binding 25% target to be complemented by sector-specific targets for renewables (e.g. for heating and cooling, and electricity) in order to ensure the overall target will be effective. Without clear and binding targets both for energy and for transport, we have no climate strategy. Against this background it is crucial that the EU’s energy policy is not tailored to the needs of European energy oligarchs, at the expense of the climate.”
(1) The French proposal for a 40-45% “low carbon” target by 2020 does not fly at all. Assuming, that the 20% renewables target is reached, the rest of this 40-45% would have to come from nuclear energy. It is widely accepted that carbon capture and sequestration for coal will not be commercially available before 2020. Except maybe for one reactor in Finland, no new nuclear reactors would be built before 2012 (based on the highly optimistic assumption of a minimum 6-7 years from planning to operation). In order to get 20% to 25% of the whole energy in the EU-27 from nuclear power, this would roughly mean building 30-40 GW new nuclear capacity in addition to the nuclear plants to be closed by 2020. This would mean between 20 to 40 additional new nuclear power plants to be built in 8 years. This would require the building of at least one new nuclear reactor every three to six months between 2012 and 2020. This is simply impossible.