Ministers have welcomed the publication by the European Commission of a package of groundbreaking and farsighted proposals on energy strategy and climate change.

The publication of the proposals – which build on decisions taken at Gleneagles and Hampton Court in 2005 - marks the start of intense activity over the next six months that could lead to radical EU policies being agreed at the EU Spring Council in March and by the G8 Plus 5 in a future post Kyoto framework.

One proposal is a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by industrialised countries by 2020, which will send a strong signal to businesses to invest in a low carbon energy future for the EU. The Commission also proposes the EU commit unilaterally to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. It also suggests increasing the use of renewable energy sources to limit global temperature changes to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This would make Europe the most energy-efficient region in the world.

Commenting following the adoption by the Commission of its Strategic Energy Review, David Miliband said: "The EU and other developed nations need to show leadership if we are to reach an international agreement on climate change. Climate change is the greatest challenge we face which is why it is right that the EU puts it at the heart of its energy strategy. As the Stern Review and the EU Commission now make clear, getting to grips with this challenge is achievable and affordable“