July 18, 2005

EU presses on with drive to reduce energy use

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's energy chief
charged ahead with his drive to cut energy consumption in the
EU Monday, calling on households to use efficient appliances
and launching a campaign to promote sustainable energy use.

The 25-nation EU wants to raise its share of renewable
energy sources to 12 percent by 2010 and reduce overall energy
consumption by 20 percent by 2020.

Andris Piebalgs, who has made energy efficiency the mantra
of his stint as energy commissioner, called Monday for
households to use more efficient dishwashers and refrigerators
to save money and contribute to the EU's fight against climate

"The real change can be done most of all by citizens
themselves and by political decision-makers," he told a news
conference. "(The) sustainable energy approach definitely will
help households."

Piebalgs said one goal of the four-year campaign was to
stimulate investment in technologies that promote energy
efficiency. Otherwise it would push policy makers at the local,
national and European level to support the EU's energy goals.

The drive to reduce energy consumption comes as oil prices
hit record highs, energy demand is rising in countries like
China and India, and as the EU tries to reduce its output of
carbon dioxide (C02) and other gases from energy-intensive
industries that are blamed for causing global warming.