Europe became the world leader in tackling climate change on Friday when 27 governments agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, and commit the EU to generating a fifth of its energy from renewable sources within 13 years.
Greenpeace praised it as the biggest decision taken to fight global warming since the Kyoto protocol 10 years ago. European leaders said it was an historic pact and Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, was praised for steering it through despite opposition from France and Eastern Europe.
Merkel is due to host a summit in June of leading industrial countries at which she will seek to persuade the United States, China, India and others to follow Europe's example.
The two-day EU summit, which ended in Brussels on Friday, boosted the outgoing French president, Jacques Chirac, and Tony Blair by recognizing nuclear power as one way of reducing emissions.
It also introduced the possibility that millions of homes will have to change from filament light bulbs to more energy-efficient light bulbs by moving to ban traditional bulbs by 2009.
The European commission is starting work immediately on a summit demand to produce proposals to trigger a wholesale switch to modern low-energy fluorescent light bulbs.
Blair said the measures chimed with proposals outlined in a climate change Bill to be tabled in Parliament next week and in the energy white paper being drafted. "These are a set of groundbreaking, bold, ambitious targets," he said.
I should be happy? Maybe but most likely this is a temporary. I’m a negative thinker but that’s that. They are just writing a paper about this and that but no rules at all.