Wind TurbineThe European Commission has outlined its plans for climate and energy policy until 2030.

The Commissioners want a binding target to reduce carbon emissions by 40% from 1990 levels.

Renewables will need to provide 27% of EU energy by 2030, but while the target will be binding at EU level there will be no mandatory targets for member states.

The policy proposals are subject to review by heads of government.

Green groups have said the new targets lack ambition and the 40% emissions cut is “dangerously low”.

Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that, given the economic climate, the 40% target was a significant advance.

“A 40% emissions reduction is the most cost-effective target for the EU and it takes account of our global responsibility,” she said.

As well as the headline cut in emissions, the other key plank of the White Paper is renewable energy.

The 2007 targets required 20% of all energy to come from solar, wind or other renewable sources.


EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard has been criticised by green groups

Germany, which is in the middle of a huge transition to solar and wind, was keen to see these binding targets continue after 2020.

The result is a proposal for a binding target across the EU to provide “at least 27%” of energy from renewable sources.

“It is not just an aspirational thing, it’s not just a nice intention, it is a binding target we are proposing,” said Ms Hedegaard.

All of the proposals put forward by the Commission will now be reviewed by the European Council in March. It is not expected that formal legislative proposals will be agreed before 2015.

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