EU says targets needed to fight climate change

TOKYO Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:18am GMT

Hungarian oil and gas group MOL's main Duna (Danube) refinery is seen in Szazhalombatta, 20km (12miles) south of Budapest, in this January 8, 2007 file photo. A senior European Commission official on Tuesday called again for numerical targets to effectively fight climate change. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh/File

Hungarian oil and gas group MOL's main Duna (Danube) refinery is seen in Szazhalombatta, 20km (12miles) south of Budapest, in this January 8, 2007 file photo. A senior European Commission official on Tuesday called again for numerical targets to effectively fight climate change.

Credit: Reuters/Laszlo Balogh/File

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TOKYO (Reuters) - A senior European Commission official on Tuesday called again for numerical targets to effectively fight climate change.

"We want to frame such a discussion ... as we do in Europe within the context of one numerical target within which emissions reductions would have to be structured," said Jos Delbeke, EU deputy director-general for environment.

Delbeke was speaking in Tokyo after taking part in a meeting of 20 of the world's top greenhouse gas polluter nations, which was held near the capital over the weekend.

EU leaders agreed last week to enact laws by March 2009 to meet their goals of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and increasing the share of green energy in their energy mix by the same date.

Delbeke, at the same time, stopped short of endorsing Japan's proposal for sectoral curbs on major polluting industries.

"We would, in the EU, agree with Japan that climate change policy is very different according to the different economic sectors we are talking about," Delbeke said.

"So a different situation amongst the economic sectors is useful," he said.

Japan, which hosted the three-day international climate change conference believes sectoral curbs on major polluting industries such as cement makers and power producers can rein in growing carbon dioxide emissions, blamed for global warming.

The idea, however, has yet to find wide support, and Britain has openly expressed disapproval.

British Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks told Reuters on Friday: "That's not the overall approach that Britain favors."

He said governments needed to be accountable for hitting targets and that this would be difficult under a sectoral approach.

G20 nations ranging from top carbon emitters the United States and China, to big developing economies Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa took part in the weekend meeting.

(Reporting by Miho Yoshikawa; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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