European Commission calls for extra funds to meet climate targets

"Previous industrial revolutions have proved that the right technologies can transform for the better the way we live. Today we have a unique opportunity to change an energy model based on polluting, scarce and risky fossil fuels, into a clean, sustainable and less dependent one," said Andris Piebalgs, the EU’s energy commissioner.

The EU has vowed to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gas by at least 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

According to the European Commission’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan, this will require a substantial increase in the funding of low carbon technologies, from its present level of 3 billion euros per year to 8 billion euros over the next decade.

This additional investment should come from both the public and private sector, with taxpayers paying for the riskiest projects.

Possible sources of funding include existing EU programmes, the European Investment Bank and proceeds from the bloc’s Emission Trading System (ETS).

Officials in Brussels have identified six priorities for investment: solar power (16 billion euros), wind power (6 billion euros), so-called "smart" electricity grids (2 billion euros), new generation biofuels (9 billion euros), carbon capture and storage (13 billion euros) and nuclear energy (7 billion euros).

The commission is also developing a website that will allow local and national decision-makers to calculate the cost of using a given clean technology, both now and in the future.

The extra 50 billion euros are to come on top of additional yearly subsidies worth 15 billion euros which the EU has promised to give to developing countries to fight global warming.