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Kyoto Protocol: signing and follow-up

The European Commission has adopted a communication on energy efficiency in the EU which outlines the main elements of a strategy for improving energy efficiency. This communication coincides with the signing of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Chan...
The European Commission has adopted a communication on energy efficiency in the EU which outlines the main elements of a strategy for improving energy efficiency. This communication coincides with the signing of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in New York on 29 April 1998. European Commissioner for the Environment, Ritt Bjerregaard, signed the Protocol on behalf of the Commission, while representatives of the Member States also signed on behalf of their countries. The formal signature underlines the continuing commitment of the EU and its Member States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The communication is viewed as an important contribution towards meeting the Community's commitments from Kyoto. Its main purpose is to promote a renewed commitment to, and a higher profile for, energy efficiency. It also aims to ensure that there is an increased focus on energy efficiency in other policies such as regional development and international cooperation. It is proposed, in the communication, to give special priority to the building sector and to amend and improve the existing legislation on CO2 emissions.

This communication is seen as a first step towards an EU strategy for the rational use of energy and will provide the basis for further discussions and the eventual production of an Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.

Although the formal post-Kyoto strategy will not be adopted until May, when the approval of the Member States will be sought, it has been recognized that changes in energy and transport policy will play a major role in achieving the 8% reduction target agreed in the Protocol.

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