Embrace low-carbon economy now, EU says

March 9, 2011 at 9:00 AM
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BRUSSELS, March 9 (UPI) -- The transition to a low-carbon economy in the European Union needs to start now because energy costs aren't going down, Europe's climate commissioner said.

The European Commission adopted a plan to develop a low-carbon economy in the region. The plans outlines some of the ways the European Union can cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent of the 1990 levels by 2050.

European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said the low-carbon transition needs to start immediately in order to make any progress.

"We need to start the transition toward a competitive low-carbon economy now," she said in a statement. "The longer we wait, the higher the cost will be."

She said the best way to develop a low-carbon economy is to fund internal measures that exist in the agriculture, construction and transport sectors.

The EU will need to invest about 1.5 percent of its gross domestic product -- about $375 billion -- during the next 40 years on top of the 19 percent of GDP already invested to build a low-carbon economy.

"As oil prices keep rising, Europe is paying more every year for its energy bill and becoming more vulnerable to price shocks," Hedegaard said. "So starting the transition now will pay off."

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