Spring summit underway
From an article in the Guardian:
Divisions over nuclear power and renewable energy threatened to derail the EU’s campaign to assume a global leadership role in the fight against climate change at the bloc’s spring summit which began last night. […]
But France, backed by several east European countries, insisted carbon-free nuclear power be included within the EU energy mix and rejected [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel’s proposal to make a 20 percent target for renewable energy binding on all 27 members.
At his swansong summit, the outgoing French president Jacques Chirac insisted that he would only agree to binding energy targets if nuclear power were included and proposed that 45 percent of the mix come from non-fossil fuel sources. France gets 80 percent of its power from nuclear power plants.
The Reuters story is more upbeat, saying that:
European Union leaders were on the brink of agreeing on Thursday to set a binding pan-European target for renewable energy sources as part of an ambitious strategy to fight climate change.
After the first working session of a two-day summit, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said the 27 leaders had agreed in principle to set a mandatory target for renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro-electric power, and allocate the burden among member states later.
“We have agreed that we need a target for renewable energy supply and that it will be binding, but it will follow a discussion on what that means for each member state,” Reinfeldt told reporters.
This debate is important in its own terms, and also as an effort to raise the bar before the G8 Heiligendamm Summit in June, when the U.S., China, and other countries will be asked to agree to a new scheme for new limits on global carbon emissions to replace the Kyoto Pact a global carbon trading scheme, and other measures to mitigate global warming.
(The Heiligendamm Summit piece in the New Scientist referenced above probably deserves its own item, but I’m trying to conserve bytes.)