August 13
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EU energy ministers have agreed on laws on energy conservation and the promotion of renewable energy, part of a package of reforms proposed by Brussels to fight climate change by drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions this decade.

More details on the climate change proposals will be discussed in further talks Tuesday, with some diplomats concerned that proposals such as a ban on gasoline and diesel cars by 2035 could eventually be relaxed, Reuters reported.

EU energy ministers were also expected to use previously scheduled talks to discuss options for collectively reducing short-term gas demand to cope with possible further supply cuts from Russia. The European Commission is preparing to present a plan next month to coordinate steps to prepare for further supply cuts amid the war in Ukraine.

Ministers are trying to agree on common ground on proposed laws to meet the 2030 goal of reducing net emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels, with the global energy supply crisis making some countries more cautious about potentially derailing reforms.

They supported goals proposed by Brussels last year to get 40% of their energy from renewable sources by 2030 (down from 22% in 2020) and reduce energy consumption by 9% from expected levels.

Last month, Brussels proposed even higher targets, which ministers are expected to consider later this year when they discuss final laws with the EU parliament.

Brussels says this year's energy crisis, caused by the war in Ukraine, means the 27 EU countries must move even faster to phase out fossil fuels. But the threat of an economic downturn due to rising energy prices has made some countries more cautious about changes that could affect domestic industry.

Countries are divided over proposals to be discussed Tuesday on a new scheme to put the cost of CO2 emissions on polluting vehicles and heating fuels, and on an actual EU ban on the sale of new fossil-fuel-powered cars starting in 2035.

Some diplomats have warned that moves to delay or weaken some of the proposals, if approved, would result in the EU failing to meet its climate goals. Others said they expect countries to retain the basic elements needed to meet emissions targets, and some concessions could help win majority support.

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