The European Commission has adopted a working paper entitled "European Union climate change strategy: A set of options". The paper, requested by the Environment Council of 15-16 December 1994, presents a preliminary analysis of the policy options which should be considered for the limitation and reduction of CO2 emissions in the period 2005-2010. Current analyses indicate that with the prevailing expectations concerning energy prices and economic growth, CO2 emissions in the EU are expected to increase by some 5% to 8% over the 1990 level. New measures which could be taken at Community level will only have a limited impact by the year 2000. The Commission underlines the importance of reaching the stabilization objective through a more vigorous implementation of current Community and national programmes, including the introduction of the carbon/energy tax. The EU should commit itself to implementing the necessary measures to stabilize its CO2 emissions in the year 2000 and to limit and reduce CO2 emissions beyond the year 2000 in the horizon of 2010. The EU should also design cost-effective strategies in the hope that other nations will pursue a more sustainable policy in the future. The Commission's assessment concerning the time horizon of 2005-2010 indicates the existence of a significant technical potential to limit and reduce CO2 emissions beyond the year 2000, provided positive synergies between climate change policies and several other policy areas are exploited. This technical potential would allow a reduction of CO2 emissions up to 10% in 2010 compared to 1990 levels. Exploiting the technical potential will require courageous and substantive policy measures to be taken at Community and Member States level. The following priority areas are identified in the Commission's working paper: - Improvement of energy efficiency and the penetration of renewable energy sources; - Completion of the internal energy market; - Change of transport modes; - Upward review of energy taxes; - Better focus of R&D policies; - Intensified cooperation with third countries.