Brussels, 26 Jun 2003
The United States and European Union made firm commitments to increase cooperation in key economic and scientific areas during the EU-US summit in Washington on 25 June.
Leading politicians from both sides of the Atlantic were meeting to identify issues of importance to both regions, and their discussions resulted in the formal announcement of several new initiatives.
Following on from an international conference held in Brussels on 16 June, Commission President Romano Prodi, US President George W. Bush, and European Council President Costas Simitis issued a joint statement affirming their commitment to work together to build a hydrogen economy.
'[W]e see the potential of the hydrogen economy in establishing a secure energy supply through clean and environmentally sound systems. We will seek to build on complementarities in our research efforts in exploring actively all technology options, including a major focus on renewable energy sources, for boosting the development of hydrogen energy,' the statement reads.
Meanwhile, Loyola de Palacio, Commission Vice President in charge of Energy and Transport, was signing an international charter on carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage on behalf of the EU, which will lead to the creation of the 'carbon sequestration leadership forum'.
Through the forum, the EU, together with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the People's Republic of China, Russia, the UK and the US, will try to stimulate research into how CO2 produced through burning fossil fuels can be captured at source and stored deep underground.
In order for such an approach to significantly reduce greenhouse gasses, CO2 must be stored for thousands of years in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, deep saline reservoirs and unminable coal seams. While similar techniques are already applied to the storage of natural gas, further research is required to ensure that the sequestration of CO2 is both environmentally sound and cost effective.
Vice President de Palacio said: 'We are committed to meeting the Kyoto Protocol targets through the enhanced use of renewable energy sources and more efficient use of energy. [...] Carbon sequestration complements these efforts. The agreement signed today offers opportunities for deeper cuts in emissions well beyond the Kyoto 2012 horizon, as a further contribution in the crucial fight against climate change.'
Speaking from Brussels, Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin welcomed the initiative, saying: 'The main goal is to check if carbon sequestration in geological formations is environmentally sound and cost effective. [...] We look forward to working with other international partners to develop this promising technology.'
Also in Washington on 25 June was Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, Erkki Liikanen. Mr Liikanen was meeting with US Commerce Secretary Don Evans, in the presence of European and American business leaders, to discuss transatlantic economic and commercial partnership.
The main outcome of the meeting was a commitment by all parties to relaunch the transatlantic business dialogue (TABD) in a new and more efficient format. One of the key roles played by the TABD is ensuring that transatlantic economic issues are formally addressed on an annual basis.
'Yesterday, we discussed how important the transatlantic economic relationship is and how our individual and shared success will both depend on our future cooperative work,' said Mr Evans. 'Using the transatlantic business dialogue, now is the time for our businesses and governments to take the steps necessary to improve global growth and job creation.'
Mr Liikanen added: 'The new transatlantic business dialogue will be a lean and focussed, business driven process developing policy recommendations for administrations. The EU and the US have joined in commitment to review and implement recommendations coming from the TABD.' To read the joint statement on the hydrogen economy, please visit: http://www.eu2003.gr/en/articles/2003/6/ 25/3157/
For more information on carbon sequestration, please consult the following web address:
For more information on the TABD, please: