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Barroso calls on EU to take lead in combating climate change

By RTCC Staff

Barroso has called for the EU to take the lead on global issues, including climate change (Source: World Economic Forum/Flickr)

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has called for the EU to continue to lead efforts to work on an effective global solution to climate change.

Addressing the EU parliament in Strasbourg in his ‘State of the Union’ speech, Mr Barroso said the EU must keep its place at the forefront of international issues.

“The world needs an EU that keeps its leadership at the forefront of development and humanitarian assistance,” he said. “That stands by open economies and fights protectionism. That leads the fight against climate change.”

The EU already plays a key role in the international climate change negotiation process, negotiating from a position of strength given its support for the Kyoto Protocol, comparatively ambitious carbon reduction targets and energy efficiency standards.

The bloc is also pushing for the adoption of a second commitment period of the Protocol at COP18 in Doha, later this year.

But it has also faced criticism, as it has not confirmed whether it will increase its own emissions reductions target under the Kyoto Protocol from 20% to 30%,

Yesterday senior EU negotiator Pete Betts said the EU and countries around the world had to show greater ambition to keep temperature rises within 2°C, a target agreed at the 2010 Copenhagen talks.

Leading by example

Barroso also called for the EU to “explore green growth and be much more efficient in our use of resources” adding that investment in research, innovation and science was vital to maintain the Union’s competitive edge.

The demand comes a day after the EU Parliament voted in favour of new energy efficiency legislation requiring large businesses to undertake energy use audits.

Under the new directive electricity, gas and water companies will have to achieve energy savings equivalent to 1.5% of their energy sales to customers from 2014-2020.

The directive was easily passed with 632 votes for to 25 against – and should be adopted over the new few months.

The European Commission also announced this week approximately $200 million of co-financing for transport projects, including those to curb air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

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