Aiming to take the lead in tackling climate change and building environmentally friendly energy policy, leaders of the European Union have agreed to a set of binding measures to slash greenhouse emissions, develop renewable energy sources, and promote energy efficiency and biofuel use.
During a two-day summit chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the 27 nations accepted a target for 20% of EU energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. The leaders also committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020.
Some EU members worry about losing competitiveness to foreign rivals with looser environmental standards, the bloc is hoping other nations will follow in adopting similar policy.
"We can say to the rest of the world, Europe is taking the lead. You should join us fighting climate change," says European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in a Reuters report, also calling the deal "the most ambitious package ever agreed by any commission or any group of countries on energy security and climate protection."