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Climate change laws ‘must press ahead’ says EU chief

The EU Commissioner for Energy has said that its proposed climate and energy legislative package should be moved forward despite the current global financial crisis.

Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Energy, told attendees at the Cercle Royal Gaulois energy conference in Brussels that it is ‘completely irresponsible’ for politicians to postpone adopting the package since problems associated with unchecked climate change will intensify with each passing year.


“The global challenge is there and we should react to it,” he told the summit which covered the economy, energy supply and the environment.

Piebalgs said the legislative package would also benefit Europe because it would lessen its dependence on imported fuels as well as promoting renewable energies, nuclear power and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). He added that the package would result in challenges for some sectors and individuals but new jobs would also be created.

The summit, called Defining Europe’s Energy Strategy, provided diverse and passionate views on international cooperation, trade policies, greenhouse gases, economic development, oil prices, coal, sustainability, wind power and the emerging middle class in China and India.

One of the three sessions was marked by differing opinions from Chris Davies, MEP and Rapporteur on the CCS Directive, who believes carbon capture and storage is an essential short-term solution to rising CO2 emissions, and Eddie O’Connor, speaking on behalf of the European Wind Energy Association, who pointed out many unresolved technical issues and economic difficulties involved with the controversial system.

Davies said he was angry and frustrated that funding to get the demonstration projects for CCS up and running by 2015 hadn’t yet materialised.

He said his objective is to promote CCS and accelerate its development because of the enormous potential it has in removing CO2 from the atmosphere. “It is certainly part of the solution of global warming.”