On 23 October, European leaders have agreed on a broad climate change framework obliging Member States to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030, compared to the global benchmark year of 1990. Europeans want to set the pace for a global pact to be hammered out in Paris 2015 global summit.
Besides the greenhouse gas, two further targets were agreed on: a 27% renewable energy market share and a 27% energy efficiency improvement. The former would be binding only on the EU as a whole. The latter would be optional, although it could be raised to 30% by a review in 2020.
Brussels is so concerned with energy saving and climate policy that is even coping with blackmails. Indeed, Portugal and Spain have attained a non-binding objective that 15% of energy be transportable via cross-border connections by 2030 across the Pyrenees (paid by project financing from EU budget).
Poland, heavily dependent on coal-fired energy production, has threatened to block the deal unless the costs to its economy and industry were discounted by €15bn-€20bn between 2020 and 2030, under a complicated system of concessions from the EU carbon trading system.
Despite wrong-headed national egotism, this climate change pact seems a first step for an effective European energy policy.