More biofuels, renewable energy in EU plans
The European Union on Wednesday outlined its proposed energy policy, calling for increased use of renewable sources to wean the 27-nation bloc off foreign oil and gas imports.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, released the report during a meeting in Brussels.
Saying the days of cheap energy are over, the report urges countries to rely on more renewable energy such as wind power and biofuels.
EU imports of oil and gas are expected to rise from 50 per cent to 65 per centby 2030, the report predicts.
Officials suggest setting a new target for renewable power, with a binding target for biofuels to replace oil in vehicles. It says that biofuels could take up 14 per cent of that market by 2020.
The report also calls for a drastic increase in renewable sources like wind power.
Current plans to cut back on nuclear power, which the report calls "one of the cheapest sources of low carbon energy," will compromise supply and the environment, it warns. However, the commission doesn't explicitly endorse nuclear power, saying it's a decision for individual countries.
Germany is in the process of closing its 17 nuclear power plants over the next 14 years, a move German Chancellor Angela Merkel has recently questioned.
Cut greenhouse gas emissions
The report alsocalls for a 20 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, urging other developed nations to slash their emissions 30 per cent for the same period.
Under Ottawa's proposed Clean Air Act, greenhouse gas emissions would be cut in half by 2050.
Now that the EU has announced its plans, it must decide on the painful and costly steps to enforce them.Officials have argued the reasons to reduce dependency on oil are not just environmental but political.
Europeans got a reminder of the high-risk future they face this week when a trade dispute between Russia and Belarus disrupted shipments of Russian oil to Europe via a pipeline through Belarus. It follows a similar cutoff of natural gas to Ukraine last year.
The report suggests countries heavily reliant on oil and gas imports diversify their suppliers and transit routes.
Energy prices will likely be raisedto pay for a $1-trillion upgrade to the bloc's distribution network, says the report.
The proposals must be approved by European governments before they go into effect.
With files from the Associated Press