By Kathrine Vogn Christensen, Denmark, Svendborg 10-01-2009
EU has signed two treaties to help the climate on earth. One is the Kyoto treaty which deals with CO2 emission. The other is about using renewable energy instead of fossil fuel.
The Kyoto treaty was a follow-up to a treaty made in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The treaty involves 150 countries which obligate themselves to reducing their CO2 emission and five other green house gasses with 58 % according to the emission in 1990. This goal should be reached at the end of 2008-12. The treaty couldn´t come into force unless at least 55 countries and at least 55 % of all industrialized countries´ CO2 emission were involved. EU is obligated to reducing their emission with 8 % overall. Denmark signed to reduce their emission with 21 %, but in 2004 it had risen with 1 %. The US and Australia didn´t sign the Kyoto treaty in 1990. Australia ratified this year, 2008, but the US haven´t yet.
The other treaty was passed in 2007 by the EU and is a binding contract between EU members which says that the total amount of RE (renewable energy) in the EU should be 20 % in 2020. The 20 % is based on electricity from RE + RE used on heating and cooling + RE used on transport, all divided with the total amount of energy use. Another aim is that all transportation has to run on 10 % biofuel.
In 2007 the total amount of RE in EU was almost 7 %, which means that over the next 13 years the amount have to rise with at least 1 % every year. Because the goal has to be reached in a relative short time the scientists believe that the renewable energy will be based on already existing, running and financial cheep technologies. The electricity sector will be based on different types of biomass and wind power. In the heating sector it will be partly solar power and partly biomass. Technologies which are still being developed can become important in the future.
In Denmark the RE in 2006 was almost 16 % of the total energy use. In 2007 the government sat the goal of at least 30 % RE in 2025, which is an increase of 0.8 % annually in 18 years. The RE is based on wind power, both off- and on-shore, which produces almost 20 percent of the total electricity. In 2009 the Danish government expects to build two big off-shore windmills and several windmill parks. Biomass is also used a lot and accounts for half of the total RE use. Both Biomass and biofuel is favored with no CO2 taxes. One thing which is not used in Denmark is nuclear power, not because of a law, but because the population in the 1970-ties showed their strong will against it and all power stations were shut down. However we still support an international run project which tries to copy the fusion which happens in the sun. Another way for EU members to fulfill their contracts is trading with RE certificates between the countries. For example if Denmark over fulfill its aim of RE they can sell the surplus to a country which donÂ´t fulfill its aim.