European Parliament seeks end to oil dependence

Oct 01, 2005 02:00 AM

MEPs are calling for Europe to diversify its energy sources and to promote energy conservation and renewable energy, given the continuous increase in the price of oil and its effects on both businesses and the public. They want the EU to be the least fossil-fuel dependent and most energy-efficient economy in the world by 2020.
Oil prices have risen 44 % in the last year, due to rapid economic growth in China, instability in Iraq and too few oil refineries. Hurricanes "Katrina" and "Rita" have also made the situation worse. OPEC, the oil exporter's cartel, has responded by increasing output from 30 to 32 mm bpd -- but just for three months.

The call comes in a resolution adopted which also says energy saving and efficiency and the use of alternative energy sources needs to be tackled on global basis, both with high energy consumers like the USA and China and with developing countries, by integrating sustainable energy provision into the EU's development cooperation policy. Dialogue, say MEPs,is needed with all European energy partners to promote security of supply, market transparency and further investment.
Parliament says the most logical response to higher oil prices is to switch to alternative energy sources. It strongly endorses the need to promote research and development and use of renewable energies to help achieve a less fossil-fuel dependent economy.

MEPs recognise that high fuel costs for consumers are partly the result of taxation, but they support the view of EU Finance Ministers that changes in taxes that might cause distortion and prevent the necessary adjustments should be avoided. They call for proposals from the Commission on how windfall profits in the oil industry could be used to fund energy saving programmes and related R&D.
Parliament says that fully implementing existing and forthcoming legislation could achieve energy savings of 23 % by 2020. Since the transport sector accounts for 70 % of total EU oil consumption, MEPs call on the Commission to come up with measures, amongst others, to encourage more fuel efficient engines and conversion to alternative propulsion technologies. They also want to encourage production of raw material for biofuels, as well as the development of hydrogen fuel cells.

MEPs therefore call for the Commission to bring forward the European Action Plan on energy efficiency, increase pressure for full implementation of the Buildings Directive, push for agreement on the Energy Services Directive, improve collection and aggregation of information on oil markets, press Member States to fulfil their renewable energy targets, put forward proposals for car manufacturers to develop cleaner vehicles, work towards greater use of environmentally-friendly coal-based energy and counter the risk of social exclusion resulting from higher oil prices.

Source: European Parliament
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