EU assesses potential of eco-technologies
The EU must \"substantially increase\" both public and private sector research and development funding for environmental technologies to ensure that future economic growth is environmentally sustainable, the European Commission said in a policy paper today.
Responding to a request from heads of government at last year\'s Gothenburg summit, the paper analyses the potential for growth in EU environmental industries and promises an action plan for promoting them. It is due to be approved by EU leaders in Barcelona this weekend (ED 18/01/02).
The paper contains few hints of what the action plan will contain. Much of it simply reprises the findings of a consultancy study published earlier this week measuring the size of Europe\'s eco-industries (ED 12/03/02). This and other surveys predict that the sector will be one of the fastest growing industries this century.
One main objective should be for the EU to use the opportunity of a general renewal of its capital stock under the Lisbon process of economic revival to install more environmentally efficient infrastructure and thus create an economy that is \"more competitive and capable of supporting sustainable development.\"
As examples of current or impending EU measures already working in this direction the paper cites the 1996 integrated pollution prevention and control directive and its requirement for firms to use best available techniques. An EU carbon dioxide emissions trading scheme will also create a \"permanent stimulus\" to find ways of cutting emissions by allowing operators to sell resulting emission allowances, it says.
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