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Five Green proposals for a European energy policy

An extract from the Green contract for Europe 2004-2009

1. A climate stability pact for Europe: 30% fewer greenhouse gases by 2020

The Greens want Europe to remain at the forefront of the fight against climate change. Whileworking towards a carbon-free, nuclear-free economy, Europe needs to drastically reduce itsburden on the atmosphere to halt dangerous climate change. We propose a climate stability pactaimed at achieving a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. To achieve this, theGreens will work during the next legislative period towards:

  • The inclusion of more greenhouse gases and the transport sector into the emissions tradingscheme
  • A harmonised and auction-based allocation of emission allowances to installations for theperiod starting 2008
  • Requiring fully equipped passenger cars sold in Europe to consume less than three litres of fuel per 100 km by 2010
  • Achieving a 25% share of the energy market for renewables by 2020.

2. Introduce a kerosene tax in the EU by 2006 and promote it worldwide

The external costs to the environment and society from air transport need to be reflected in prices,and therefore an EU kerosene tax needs to be introduced as soon as possible. One of the mostscandalous distortions of competition in the transport sector is the exemption of kerosene (fuel forlarge aeroplanes) from energy taxation. This exemption privileges this particular un-sustainablemode of transport against all other forms which, to a large extent, have to internalise their costs5through taxes. The new European Directive on the taxation of energy products will, on the basis ofbilateral agreements between Member States, allow for taxation on kerosene for intra-EU flights.We will continue to push for the swift introduction of such taxes and for negotiating, on a worldlevel, a multilateral agreement on kerosene taxation.

3. Reduce heavy traffic by one third by 2010

The unacceptable increase of road freight transport causes a number of social and environmentalexternal costs for our society. The Greens want to get the trucks off Europe's highways and reduceheavy traffic by a third by 2010. Instruments to achieve this goal are: better spacial and regionalplanning, restructuring of production systems, improving transport management and consumptionpatterns, internalisation of external costs (through the 'eurovignette' directive and 'heavy vehiclefee', for example), efficient application of social, environmental and safety legislation byconsequent controlling and modal shift measures in favour of rail and sustainable waterways.

4. Promote rail transport: 100% more goods transported by rail by 2010

Incentives are needed if we are to move goods transports from the roads to the railways. TheGreens propose to double the amount of goods transported by rail by 2010 by focussing oninvestments to upgrade the existing railway infrastructure, provide more support for Europeanintegration of rail freight systems (inter-operability measures), improving noise reduction offreight wagons and boosting combined transport in Europe.

5. Install 10 million solar roofs

Renewable energies (sun, water, wind, biomass), along with both energy efficiency andconservation measures are the only way in which we can develop a truly sustainable energyeconomy. Notably, electricity and heat production can directly come from the transformation ofthe energy contained in solar radiance. For the public as well as decision-makers, solar roofs are astrong and visual means of promoting renewable energies. The Greens will campaign for a schemeto promote the installation 10 million solar roofs in Europe.

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