Despite Robert J. Samuelson's claim that the European Union does not successfully fight climate change [op-ed, June 29], E.U. member states are on course to meet their Kyoto Protocol targets.
We agree with Mr. Samuelson that technologies play an important role -- that is why we heavily support research on cleaner technologies. But market-based incentives also are necessary to make investment in those new technologies more attractive to the big polluters. The E.U. emissions-trading scheme, in operation since January, already is pushing the technological learning curve in Europe.
Increasing energy efficiency is another part of the E.U.'s comprehensive policy to reduce greenhouse gases. The International Energy Agency has identified the potential for a 60 percent improvement by 2030. Energy efficiency in the European Union is 26 percent higher than in the United States, creating a competitive advantage in a world with rising energy costs. We believe it is possible to both cut greenhouse gas emissions and grow economically.
If Europe is a citadel, it is one only in the sense that it wants to protect its environment. Mr. Samuelson is right to imply that political courage is necessary to do that, and the European Union has shown no shortage of leadership on this issue. The more partners it involves in this endeavor, the more successful it will be.
Spokeswoman for the Environment