E.U. adopts ambitious renewable-energy goal

It’s a banner day for the European Union: wrapping up a two-day summit, its 27 member states have agreed on an ambitious green-energy goal. The plan — to use 20 percent renewable energy by 2020 — will “establish us as a world pioneer,” says German Chancellor and summit chair Angela Merkel, who brokered the deal. Two major concessions made cranky countries happy: the 20 percent will be an E.U. average, allowing national goals to vary (and providing poorer countries with a wee loophole); and the deal gives a nod to the potential benefits of nuclear, shutting France up for the nonce. Coupled with a pledge to cut emissions 20 percent by 2020, the move is “the most ambitious package ever agreed by any commission or any group of countries on energy security and climate protection,” says European Commission Prez Jose Manuel Barroso. Of course, as Merkel points out, the E.U. spews only 15 percent of the world’s emissions: “The real climate problem will not be solved by Europe alone.” Sigh.