LONDON, England, November 30, 2005 (Refocus Weekly) Europe must intensify its research into solar PV and biomass, as well as coal and nuclear, according to the continent’s energy commissioner.
“The increasing recognition of the seriousness of the consequences of global warming call for more drastic measures than the world has taken to date,” Andris Piebalgs told a conference. The European Commission can play a “pivotal role” in driving changes if member states and industry are prepared to adapt, adding that higher prices may be a signal that could catalyse change.
“Many countries have taken often different commitments to address the many challenges facing energy policy” but the challenges are getting more acute and social is changing “but our need for energy does not,” he said. “We all want to be more energy efficient and give renewables a real chance,” and all countries want to see GHG emissions under control “but, all the time, greater mobility, more electrical goods and higher social expectations are compromising our good intentions.”
“Something stronger, more fundamental and structural is needed,” and the first priority is to increase energy efficiency. One fifth of energy is wasted and a recent green paper on energy efficiency is designed to stabilize EU energy demand at 1990 levels “without affecting standards of living but even improving them.”
The second priority is to increase diversity in energy supply, from new energy forms and new technologies. “Research must be intensified into clean coal, nuclear, biomass and photovoltaics,” but consumers must also understand the limitations of fossil fuel dependence, “not to mention its destructive effect on the environment and climate.”
Europe must also create the conditions for the investments which will be needed to assure the supply of electricity, gas and oil, with investments needed not only in domestic capacity, “particularly renewables,” but also in production overseas and transportation, he explained. EU members must also ensure that their legislation on markets, renewables and efficiency is properly implemented and properly applied.
“For a secure energy future, Europe needs a long term and convincing energy policy, integrated into, and contributing fully to a low carbon economy, as part of Kyoto and post-Kyoto; a competitive industry and confident workforce, within the Lisbon strategy; and a strong role for the EU in the world,” he said. The EC will undertake a fundamental review of the continental energy policy and will issue a green paper on a sustainable energy policy next spring.
“This approach will contribute to strengthen the EU’s role as a global player in the world energy market,” he added.
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