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     March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Scottish & Southern Energy Plc, Dong Energy A/S, Eneco Holding NV and Statkraft AS are calling on the European Union to set a tougher carbon-dioxide target to help promote cleaner energy.

Chief executives at the four energy companies said the EU should raise its emission-cutting target for 2020 to 25 percent below 1990 levels, compared with the current benchmark of 20 percent. Public Power Corp. SA and Sorgenia SpA also signed the declaration to the EU.

“We know that the benefits of early action far outweigh the costs of inertia or delayed action,” they said today in an e-mailed statement. “Private investors take their signals from such targets, and more ambitious targets will stimulate more low carbon investment.”

The European Commission, regulator of the 27-nation bloc, said in a draft report last week that increasing the target may be achievable with more energy conservation and investment into low-carbon systems. The EU draft, due to be presented to national leaders next week, is a political compromise, as member states remain split on raising the target.

EU emission permits for December were little changed, slipping 1 cent to 15.44 euros a metric ton as of 8:40 a.m. on London’s ICE Futures Europe.

Western countries including France, Germany and the U.K. have called for a more-ambitious goal, and eastern nations tend to favor a more-cautious approach. The EU, which is poised to meet its 2020 target, aims to cut domestic emissions by at least 80 percent as of 2050.

Editor: Mike Anderson, Randall Hackley.

To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Airlie in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at

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