EU Announces Landmark Climate Change Targets

A European Union agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent (over 1990 levels) by 2020 is being called ambitious and historic. EU leaders also pledge to boost that to 30 percent if the rest of the developed world, like big polluters China and the U.S., follow. A separate target will make renewables the source for at least 20 percent of Europe's energy by the same deadline. Biofuel use is targeted for a 10 percent increase.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel championed the plan, saying a resolution would signify a new era in the fight against global warming.

Some countries will contribute less

"Burden sharing" is proposed to help poorer countries commit to green power by allowing them to contribute less to the renewable energy targets. Wealthier countries like Germany and France will make up the difference by pushing current renewable energy programs past the 20 percent mark. Nuclear energy is being included, although several nations made it clear they are opposed.

Merkel plans to encourage other countries to join the fight, saying Europe is only responsible for 15 percent of C02 and can't solve the problem alone.

While many feel even more needs to be done, it's encouraging that such an agreement can be made with so many factors working against it, like businesses expressing fears they'll lose competitiveness. Hopefully leaders a little closer to home are listening.

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