Plugged in at last: Europe pledges to stop wasting energy

19 October 2006

Brussels, Belgium - WWF, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Europe hailed the energy efficiency target proposed by the European Commission today to reduce Europe's total primary energy consumption by at least 20 percent by 2020. The environmental NGOs warned, however, that the Energy Efficiency Action Plan falls short of proposing legislation that would put Europe on track to meet the target.

The Plan contains ten priority actions; among these, particular attention should be given to setting energy requirements and labelling for a broad range of products such as TVs, computers, buildings and cars, say environmental NGOs.

"It is absolutely vital that less energy is consumed while using every-day products. European citizens need to have access to the best products available, enabling them to reduce their energy bill and to make sure that they are not contributing to climate change when watching TV or baking a cake", said Mariangiola Fabbri, Energy Policy Officer at WWF.

The Action Plan is particularly weak in the area of transport, a sector accounting for more than 30 percent of the EU's final energy demand. The Plan neglects commercial transport, barely mentions new measures to improve public transport and fails to encourage the much needed modal shift from road to rail.

"To reduce transport emissions we need the EU to implement binding targets on car efficiency, combined with people simply using vehicles less, for both commercial and personal travel. Governments need to provide incentives for companies to use railways instead of roads and individuals to use public transport more," added Esther Bollendorff, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth.

Furthermore, the Plan commits to revise and extend the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive only in 2009, even though in its current shape the Directive will never deliver the required savings in this sector.

"The Commission's target to reduce energy wastage is welcome, but education programmes and voluntary measures are not going to cut it alone. If the EU is serious about becoming the most energy efficient region in the world, the 20 per cent target must be put at the heart of all policy areas," said Mahi Sideridou of Greenpeace.


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Notes to the editors:
- The energy efficiency action plan will be discussed and possibly approved at the EU Energy Council on
23 November. After that, the Commission could start implementing the plan.

- The primary energy consumption is the consumption of energy used in its natural state (i.e. oil, natural
gas, wind, biomass) before its conversion into electricity or fuel for cars.

- WWF, together with a number of partner organisations, has recently launched a web portal to help
consumers discover the most energy-efficient appliances and cars in Europe: www.topten.info.

- This press release and related material is available on www.panda.org/epo, www.greenpeace.eu and
http://www.foeeurope.org.

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