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EU leaders challenged to start energy revolution

Energy Security = Renewables

EU leaders challenged to start the energy revolution

Lahti, Finland, 20 October, 2006 - Today Greenpeace urged the European leaders meeting in Finland to stop relying on fuel imports and put renewable energy and energy efficiency at the core of their energy security discussions. The message "Energy Security = Renewables; there is no alternative" was beamed into the Sibelius Hall in Lahti, where the delegates were meeting, and onto Lahti's water tower in full view of the city.

"EU leaders must commit to providing true energy security for their citizens, instead of keeping us tied to outdated and harmful practices. Europe cannot continue to burn increasing quantities of fossil fuels," said Frauke Thies, Greenpeace Energy Campaigner. "If we are to avoid the devastating effects of climate change, a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency is the clean, cost-effective and sustainable solution, independent of global market fluctuations in fossil and nuclear fuels."

Almost half of Europe's total energy demand could be met from renewable energy sources by 2050 according to The Greenpeace "Energy Revolution Scenario" for the EU-25. At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions from the sector could be reduced by more than 70% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels) while phasing out nuclear power entirely.

"It is hard to understand why European leaders are still concentrating on prolonging our dependence on hazardous fuels, while renewable energy, the clean and secure alternative, is here and ready. Its potential to supply half of Europe's energy needs is being ignored to the detriment of European citizens who will suffer the consequences," Thies commented.

The informal EU summit in Lahti is taking place at a decisive time for energy policy in the European Union; in January 2007, the European Commission will launch its Strategic Energy Review, proposing a package of measures on its energy policy.

"Renewables and energy efficiency must be at the very heart of the EU energy mix," said Kaisa Kosonen, Greenpeace Nordic Climate & Energy Campaigner. "Mandatory targets for renewable energy in the power sector (35%) and the heating & cooling sector (at least 25%) by 2020 would demonstrate the European Union's long-term commitment to renewable energy sources, enhance investor confidence and aid the broad uptake of renewable energy technologies".

At the same time, Greenpeace is calling for EU leaders to support the target set yesterday by the European Commission to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020.


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