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Climate and energy package adopted

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The European Parliament formally approved six new climate and energy laws in December, fulfilling the French Presidency’s stated objective of achieving some form of agreement before the end of the year. The adoption of the new climate and energy package completed a busy environmental legislative year. Over 550 MEPs backed the package, which includes the Directive to revise rules for the EU Emission Trading System (ETSi) for its third trading period from 2013 to 2020. The climate and energy package also includes an “effort-sharing” decision setting national binding greenhouse gas reduction targets for non-ETS sectors in each Member State, to be met by 2020 from a 2005 baseline; a Directive promoting carbon capture and storage (CCS); a Directive to ensure renewable energy makes up at least 20% of the EU’s total energy consumption by 2020; a Regulation setting binding greenhouse gas emission limits for new passenger cars, to be phased in from 2012 to 2015 and a Directive revising existing fuel quality rules and introducing a binding target for greenhouse gas emission cuts from road fuels by 2020. After formal approval from the Council of Ministers, following, of course, the decision of the European Council on 12 December 2008, the laws will be published in the EU’s Official Journal.