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Cablegate: Sarkozy's Priorities for Environment and Energy During

VZCZCXRO5094
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #1330 1931650
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111650Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3737
RUEAEPA/EPA WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEBAAA/USDOE WASHDC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES

UNCLAS PARIS 001330

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG SENV FR EU
SUBJECT: SARKOZY'S PRIORITIES FOR ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY DURING
FRENCH EU PRESIDENCY

REF: Paris 1314


1. (U) Summary: France has made energy and climate change the top
priority for its EU Presidency. The EU Work Program, recent actions
by the European Parliament, and the meetings of Environment and
Energy Ministers from the 27 member countries shed further light on
the French Presidency's objectives as well as the EU climate and
energy package to be completed by the end of 2008. End Summary.
2. (U) The GOF has outlined four priorities for its EU Presidency:
energy and climate; migration issues; agriculture; and security and
defense, with energy and climate at the forefront. The French EU
Presidency is committed to finalizing a climate/energy package that
will constitute a basis for an ambitious EU policy to combat climate
change and transition to a low carbon economy. Its goal is to
complete the package by the end of the year. The EU supports a
global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions that would reduce
emissions by 30 percent below 1990 levels in order to stabilize
global warming at 2 degrees celsius above preindustrial levels.

3. (U) The European Union agreed in March 2007 to three key
objectives: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent
by 2020, and by 30 percent if other major emitters are bound by an
international agreement; increase the renewable energy sources of EU
energy consumption to 20 percent by 2020; and improve energy
efficiency by 20 percent by 2020. The French Presidency is working
to implement this 20/20/20 proposal.

4. (U) On July 3-5, the First Council of Environmental Ministers met
in St. Cloud where MEEDDAT French Minister Borloo announced that he
will do everything he can to obtain an international agreement in
Copenhagen to reduce GHG emissions by 30 percent. The Ministers
clarified that the previously established EU goal in January of 2007
to increase biofuels in transport to 10 percent by 2020 has been
misinterpreted and that it, in fact, applies to all renewable
energies and is not limited to biofuels. This, combined with the
European Parliament Environment Committee's vote on July 7 to scale
down the proposed EU-wide biofuels target for 2020 to 4 percent by
2015, reflects a reexamination of EU biofuels policy in light of
increasing EU concern that biofuels may result in rising food
prices, water shortages and deforestation. (Comment: These changes
could affect the level of investment and research by companies
seeking out alternative biofuels.)
5. (U) The Ministers discussed revisions to the EU's Emissions
Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), including allocation of carbon emissions
and the inclusion of additional industries such as aviation and
aluminum. All the member states agreed that solidarity and
flexibility were desirable but there was no agreement on which
approach should be taken. Divergent views emerged on the threshold
reference year for measuring carbon emissions reductions.
Discussions also focused on how manufactured products from non-EU
countries would be treated. (Note: On July 9, the EU Parliament
voted in favor of including aviation emissions in the EU-ETS).
Additional reporting can be found in Reftel.

6. (U) Additionally, the French Presidency seeks to enhance EU
energy security by enhancing efficiency, increasing security of
supply, and decreasing external energy dependence while promoting
European economic competitiveness. The EU plans to enhance its
energy efficiency in various areas such as standby electrical
appliances, energy saving light bulbs and energy efficient
buildings. The EU also plans to diversify its sources of energy and
enhance international energy partnerships with major energy
producing, transiting, and consuming countries. More details on
these plans are expected from the Commission in the fall of 2008.

7. (U) Next steps. France hopes to obtain member agreement on the
energy/climate package by December 2008 with final adoption of the
needed directives by Spring of 2009, well before the Copenhagen
Climate Change Conference.

8. (U) Comment: The EU Ministers of Environment and Energy made
considerable progress and the French EU Presidency achieved broad
support on its goals to combat climate change. Although there has
been considerable consensus on broad principles, substantial work
remains to be done to obtain consensus from all 27 EU member
countries on the final climate/energy package and the details for
implementation of the 20/20/20 goals.

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