E.U. launches action plan for reducing energy use

The European Union has adopted an action plan for reducing energy use 20 percent by 2020, saying increased efficiency could save it $125 billion by that year. Under the plan, the 25-nation bloc will expand building energy-efficiency rules to apply to smaller structures, and develop binding minimum efficiency requirements for electric, heating, and cooling systems. It will develop new energy standards for 14 product groups such as copy machines and TVs, paying special attention to the machines’ energy-sucking standby mode. The E.U. also intends to review energy tax rules and introduce stricter standards for energy-efficiency labeling, and it might introduce legislation to limit vehicle CO2 emissions. As yet, the plans are broad and not thoroughly fleshed out, but when formally launched, they could very well set new global standards, as all imports into the E.U., as well as goods made in the E.U., would have to comply.