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EU commissioner visits, introduces climate action framework
4 Feb 2014 Flash News
EU COMMISSIONER for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard paid a visit to Bratislava on February 3 to introduce the new EU climate and energy 2030 framework, the TASR newswire reported.
The European Commission (EC) is proposing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels, as well as to increase the share of renewable energy to 27 percent. The mandatory targets set by the EC on January 22 are to be addressed by the prime ministers of EU-member states during the March session of the European Council.
"We believe that if we're going to have intelligent climate and energy policies, it won't result in job cuts; on the contrary, it will contribute to job growth," said Hedegaard, as quoted by TASR.
According to Hedegaard, it is important to get serious in this area because the European continent is the biggest importer of energy from the outside world. Today, Europe imports up to 60 percent of its total energy consumption and this will increase in 2030 to 80 percent if no action is taken. Hedegaard pointed out that Europe's high energy dependence has a negative effect on its trade balance and, moreover, Europe is indirectly "sending money to various regimes around the world."
According to the EC’s analysis, the green sector is one of the three sectors with the biggest potential to bring new jobs in the future.
"If we decide, for example, to build low-energy buildings here in Bratislava, someone directly in Slovakia will have to build them. These are jobs that stay with us, because it isn't possible to import from China," said the Danish commissioner, as quoted by TASR.
At the same time, Hedegaard refuted the argument that energy prices will increase as a result of tackling climate issues or embracing green energy. According to her, higher energy prices are caused by insufficient energy infrastructure, the lack of international interconnection of energy networks and the absence of a unified energy market [in Europe].
Hedegaard pointed out that Slovakia is currently fifth in the EU in terms of energy consumption per capita.
"Considering this, it would be a very good idea for industries in Slovakia to become more energy efficient also from the viewpoint of their competitiveness," TASR quoted Hedegaard as saying.
According to Hedegaard, the EU will try to motivate poorer EU countries to invest in innovation in this area. She pointed out that 20 percent of the entire budget coming from the EU to Slovakia needs to be invested in activities that will contribute to building a low carbon economy.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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