* EU Commission analysing impact of range of targets for
* Sources estimate health benefits at 5-35 billion
* Growth impact of emissions cuts seen mildly positive
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, Nov 6 Hitting energy and environment
targets for 2030 under discussion in the European Commission
would save up to 35 billion euros ($47 billion) per year in
health costs as air pollution declines, EU sources said.
It would also add an estimated 0.5 percent to gross domestic
product, due mainly to lower oil and gas imports, they said.
The numbers are from a draft Commission assessment of the
impact of 2030 goals expected to be announced early next year.
The Commission, the EU executive, said it does not comment
on unpublished documents.
Policymakers are considering targeting a cut of around 40
percent in greenhouse gas emissions and raising the proportion
of energy generated by renewables to 30 percent, EU sources have
said on condition of anonymity.
Environmental campaigners say an emissions cut of 60 percent
relative to 1990 levels is needed by 2030 to limit global
warming to the 2 degrees Celsius level scientists say would
prevent the worst effects of climate change.
That compares with an existing 2020 target of a 20 percent
cut in emissions compared with 1990 levels, accompanied by two
other goals - to increase renewables to 20 percent and energy
savings of 20 percent versus business as usual.
The U.N.'s panel of climate scientists in September raised
the probability that global warming is mainly man-made to 95
percent from the 90 percent it estimated in 2007, but also said
the pace of temperature rises had slowed.
EU legislative proposals have to be accompanied by
assessments of their impact that examine a range of scenarios.
The EU sources said none of the scenarios in the 2030
assessment includes an energy savings target, which
environmental campaigners argue is the obvious way to meet EU
goals of lower energy costs, better energy security and lower
But member states balked at the upfront cost of measures
such as insulation to reduce energy use during a tough debate on
an efficiency law last year.
The Commission's 2030 scenarios range from a 40 percent cut
in greenhouse gas emissions with no other targets, to a
greenhouse gas target of 40 percent plus a 30 percent renewables
goal, and a greenhouse gas target of 45 percent combined with a
renewables target of 35 percent.
While there are no efficiency targets, there are energy
savings assumptions, ranging from 24 to 33 percent, saving up to
between 11.1 billion and 34.5 billion euros per year in health
care costs, the impact assessment found.
The estimated boost to annual gross domestic product is
similar under each scenario at just over 0.5 percent.
Some governments and business have lobbied against deep
emissions cuts, saying they are too costly. Environmentalists
say costs have been exaggerated and benefits ignored.
($1 = 0.7402 euros)
(Editing by John Stonestreet)