Azara Blog: EU wants to cut energy consumption by 20% by 2020

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Date published: 2006/10/19

The BBC says:

An action plan to cut Europe's energy consumption by 20% before 2020 has been outlined by the European Commission.

More than 75 "ambitious" measures include tougher energy standards for electrical goods, a low-energy building strategy and more fuel efficient cars.

Officials say the proposals will deliver an annual saving of 100bn euros (£67bn) and help the EU meet its Kyoto Protocol target to cut emissions by 8%.
"Energy efficiency is crucial for Europe," Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said. "By saving energy, Europe will address climate change, as well as its rising consumption and its dependency on fossil fuels imported from outside the European Union."

The Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP), unveiled by Mr Piebalgs in Brussels, will be introduced over the next six years.
Mr Piebalgs said the Commissison felt it was important to focus on saving energy because "everything was in our hands".

Therefore, he added, the EEAP would also look at ways to increase awareness among consumers about the need for greater efficiency.

"People should understand that each time they waste energy by opening a window they are not only actually destroying the potential to buy goods or save money, they are also making the climate warmer even through this small emission," he told reporters.

He has got to be kidding. Perhaps he hasn't noticed, in his perfectly air conditioned office and house, that people open windows to allow fresh air in. The EU commissioners and eurocrats are amongst the richest people, and therefore largest energy consumers, in the EU and the ordinary citizens of the EU don't really need patronising lectures from them about saving energy. On a more serious point, the energy consumption being considered is not bona fide. For example, if a steel plant closes down in the UK and moves to China, suddenly it will seem, according to EU reckoning, that the UK has consumed less energy, because it now imports more steel, and this is wrong. And as Piebalgs himself points out, if you save money heating your house, then you will spend it on some other good, which requires energy to make. Well it's not a one-for-one substitute and given that energy prices are likely to rise (so that becoming more energy efficient will be a requirement just to stay still), this is unlikely to be a real issue.

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