Members of the European parliament approve plans that should stimulate investment in green projects

Members of the European parliament have voted in favour of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 in a move that could stimulate work in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

Members of the European parliament’s environment and industry committees voted in a joint session to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 as part of a package of measures that also included a target to get 30% of Europe’s energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Brussels currently has a target to cut green house gas emissions by 20% by 2020, as part of an overall goal of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.

The MEPs also approved plans to set a separate target for the reduction of energy use from buildings, which could be as much as much 61%.

Final approval for the plans from the European parliament will now be sought in early February.

Politicians and industry leaders hope that setting a target for the reduction of green house gases and increases in energy efficiency and renewable energy will encourage investment in schemes, such as wind farms and building energy efficiency retrofits.

Fiona Hall, Liberal Democrat MEP, said there was now “clear support” for binding energy efficiency and greenhouse gas targets in Europe.

She added: “MEPs recognised that renovating the building stock is key to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective way.”

Andrew Warren, director for the Association for the Conservation of Energy said: “This is an important first step towards assuring that the most cost effective options – normally the energy saving ones – are delivered in future.”