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Europe makes new strides for low-carbon economy

European Commission says proposal has the potential to boost GDP by as much as 1 percent.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Europe makes new strides for low-carbon economy
European Commission unveils clean-energy proposal that could boost regional GDP by as much as 1 percent. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

BRUSSELS, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The European Commission unveiled a clean-energy package that could modernize the regional economy and boost GDP by as much as 1 percent.

The commission released a proposal that calls for global leadership in renewable energy, consumer benefits and energy efficiency. European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said the clean-energy package would boost the region's leadership in the low-carbon movement while at the same time advancing the economy.

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"These measures will equip all European citizens and businesses with the means to make the most of the clean energy transition," he said in a statement.

The European Union already has plans to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, by at least 40 percent by 2030. European member states are obligated to use renewable energy to meet 20 percent of their energy needs by the end of the decade.

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Eurostat, the European statistics office, said data from 2014, the last full year for which it published information, show the share of energy from renewable resources was 16 percent, about 89 percent above 2004 levels, the first year it started keeping records on renewables.

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The regional low-carbon coordination comes about two months after the EU ratified the Paris climate agreement, which calls on the global community to take action to address threats posed by a warming climate by cutting their emissions.

The commission said clean-energy solutions attracted more than $310 billion last year and the new package could mobilize as much as $185 billion in investments from 2021. By its estimate, the European Commission said the package could generate an increase in gross domestic product of as much as 1 percent over the next decade and create 900,000 jobs.

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Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete that, with the European Parliament's early sign-off on the Paris climate agreement, the region is on the cusp of a low-carbon revolution.

"With these proposals, the commission has cleared the way to a more competitive, modern and cleaner energy system. Now we count on European Parliament and our member states to make it a reality," he said.

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