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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 12:02 GMT
EU energy plan: What nations think
As the EU announces a new set of proposals on energy and climate issues, BBC correspondents look at what different European countries think of the plan.

GERMANY - TRISTANA MOORE

"The Russians are switching off our oil taps" - German newspapers were full of doom and gloom as Russian oil supplies to Germany were disrupted on Tuesday.

Germany has made energy security one of the top priorities of its EU presidency. The German government has released a long document outlining the aims of the presidency. It concludes that "climate change is one of the most alarming environmental problems in the world".

The German government has called for more ambitious commitments to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It says that if the EU agrees on a reduction target of 30% by 2020, "Germany is willing to make a commitment that goes beyond that".

Above all, Germany wants to lay the groundwork for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Following the disruption of Russian energy supplies to Europe, Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a diversification of energy sources, to reduce dependence on any one big supplier.

She suggested expanding the use of renewable energies and reconsidering Germany's plans to phase out nuclear power, which is a very controversial topic.

With a very mild winter and a shortage of snow in Alpine resorts, the greenhouse effect has become a reality for many Germans.

According to a survey carried out by the institute Infratest Dimap this month, the majority of Germans care passionately about climate change.

The survey found that 95% of Germans believe that energy security is the top priority for the EU, and 94% of those questioned said climate protection was also important.

Last year, Germany was rapped on the knuckles by the European Commission.

The commission imposed cuts in permitted CO2 emissions by industry.

Germany was told to reduce its carbon emissions cap from 482 million to 453 million tonnes.

Back then, the German government described the commission's demands as "totally unacceptable". Ironically, Germany still has a long way to go to clean up its own backyard.

BALTIC STATES - LAURA SHEETER

The three Baltic states are among the smallest and poorest countries in the European Union, so their greenhouse gas emissions are lower than the EU average; but that does not mean they are happy at the prospect of further emissions cuts.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are all relatively inefficient energy users, a legacy of their Soviet past. But while they are starting to use more modern, greener technology, they are actually seeing emission levels growing.

That is because they have among the fastest growing economies in the EU, and as people get more prosperous, they use more energy.

As far as the Baltic governments are concerned, that is good news, and while they agree that emissions should not grow unchecked, they are worried that new, tougher EU rules could damage their economic growth.

SPAIN - DANNY WOOD

In terms of introducing legislation, the Spanish government has certainly demonstrated a commitment to tackling climate change.

If that is any guide, new European measures are likely to be taken very seriously.

In November, Spain's cabinet approved rules to cut industrial greenhouse gas emissions by 20% of the levels recorded in 2005.

That followed a National Plan to Adapt to Climate Change. The first phase of that plan involves assessing the impact of climate change on Spain's water systems and biodiversity.

The government is also encouraging the use of renewable energy, for example generating electricity from wind. You only have to drive around Spain to see the results: giant, wind-driven propellers covering the parched plains of the south and the green hills of the north.

The Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says the government is on the right track, but has raised concerns about the possibility of the government looking favourably on the opening of more nuclear power stations.

As far as Spaniards are concerned, awareness and concern about environmental issues is on the up - especially when it comes to their chronic water shortages and the urban developments that have marred their coastlines.

The majority of Spaniards and their current government are likely to support European attempts to get to grips with climate change.

POLAND - ADAM EASTON

Poland is by far the biggest coal producer in the EU. With its 40 mines it produces an average of 100 million metric tonnes a year.

Approximately 95% of the country's electricity is generated in coal-fired plants.

Renewable energy sources account for less than 5% of the country's total energy production.

But carbon dioxide emissions have actually fallen by more than 30% compared to levels in 1988, due to falling coal production, the application of pollution prevention policies and the closure of loss-making heavy industrial plants in the transition from communism to a market economy.

Now the Polish economy is undergoing substantial growth and energy consumption is rising.

"The growth of greenhouse gases is inevitable in the coming years," the government's National Allocation Plan for CO2 emissions says.

Both the government and environmental lobby groups believe Poland will fulfil its 6% greenhouse gas reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol.

But meeting more stringent targets imposed by the EU in the future will be considerably more difficult.




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