Broad coalition calls on EU not to rely on hydrogen to decarbonise buildings

33 businesses, industry associations, NGOs, and think tanks joined forces to urge the European Commission to prioritise available efficient and sustainable solutions to decarbonise Europe’s building stock, and avoid the direct use of hydrogen.

Addressing EU Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans in an open letter, the co-signatories underline that to achieve a higher 2030 EU climate target, massive emissions reductions in the building sector will be needed (<60% compared to 2015). This requires applying the energy efficiency first principle and boost the integration of renewables, as envisaged by the Renovation Wave strategy.

While it is true that renewable hydrogen can play a role in decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors, its direct use for heating on a large scale is problematic because it comes with many uncertainties linked to the scalability, costs of its production and inefficiencies, the letter says.

To optimise the process of heat decarbonisation in the medium and long-term, the EU should favour energy efficiency options as they can immediately deliver real carbon savings, while accommodating a growing share of renewable sources.

The co-signatories call on the Commission not to overestimate the potential of “zero-emission gas”, which would be mostly imported from abroad. Doing that would constrain EU taxpayers to fund unnecessary infrastructures, such as gas pipelines (or their upgrade), diverting financial resources from immediately applicable and more sustainable heat decarbonisation solutions.

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), said:
“To achieve higher emission reductions by 2030, the EU must act fast to decarbonise buildings as one of the most energy consuming and polluting sectors. To make this happen, we need to prioritise energy efficiency and renewables, while using hydrogen to decarbonise harder-to-abate sectors, like chemicals and steel.”

 

Read the full letter here

 

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) aims to ensure that the voice of energy efficiency is heard across the European Union. EU-ASE members have operations across the 27 Member States of the European Union, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.

Media contact
Matteo Guidi
matteo.guidi@euase.eu
+32 493 37 21 42

Open letter: EU Taxonomy to deliver economic recovery, resilience and sustainability

In response to the European Commission’s consultation on the draft delegated acts for the EU Taxonomy Regulation, EU-ASE has addressed in an open letter the Commission Vice-Presidents Frans Timmermans and Valdis Dombrovskis.

EU-ASE calls on the European Commission to ensure that the taxonomy will play a key role in aligning public and private investments to deliver economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as resilience and long-term sustainability.

To achieve this goal, we believe that the EU Taxonomy should be developed to exclusively promote investments which help us to address the economic, health, environmental and social consequences of climate changes, especially on the young and future generations.

Moreover, the technical screening criteria should systematically factor energy efficiency considerations in the qualification of sustainable activities. This approach should encompass a broad range of economic activities including buildings’ construction, renovation and management, all products manufacturing, and services, in particular energy services.

 

Read the full letter here

Open letter: building renovations should be at the centre of the Italian recovery

In view of the drafting of the Italian recovery and resilience plan, EU-ASE has joined with leading national players from industry, environmentalism and academia asking the government to focus on the renovation of buildings for a green and resilient recovery.

The letter states:

The drafting and implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is an historic challenge for our country. It represents the unique opportunity to boost the economy, safeguard and/or create jobs and win the fight against pollution and climate change.

The renovation of existing buildings is the ideal tool because it provides advantages in terms of growth, jobs, economic and social resilience, which are unparalleled in other sectors:

  • the high labour intensity, typical of all construction work, will create numerous local jobs (on average 18 jobs for every million euros invested, according to a Renovate Europe study);
  • renovations will improve the quality of the buildings, this will have huge impacts on all of us citizens, who spend about 90% of our time inside buildings, including better air quality, comfort, and health;
  • the strong decrease in energy consumption, which will bring decisive benefits in terms of tackling climate change (buildings are responsible for a large part of climate-altering emissions)

It is also important to remember that the aforementioned benefits would be obtained in a short time and would last over the long period, thanks to the long life of the technologies involved (insulation and renewable sources).

For this reason we support the plan to extend the “Superbonus 110%” until 2024 and, potentially, even beyond, until reaching the goal of decarbonising the entire building stock, as required by the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).

Similarly, we support the willingness to allocate a part of the Recovery Fund resources (1 billion euro/year) for the renovation of public buildings, excluded from the application of the Superbonus 110%.

The above is the first necessary step to reach the EU 2030 (-55%) and 2050 (climate neutrality) climate targets. In fact, we remind you that Italy, according to the EPBD, has yet to adopt a real long-term renovation strategy for the de-carbonisation of the Italian housing stock.

Today more than ever buildings renovations can and must contribute to the recovery of the Italian economy and, at the same time, make our society more resilient.

 

Read the full letter here (in Italian)

Open letter to ECON and BUDG Committees Members: A green recovery for Europe

In view of the ongoing discussion in the European Parliament on the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation, the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) sent a letter to the Members of the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Budgets (BUDG) Committees calling for a green recovery for current and future generations.

The letter states:

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting the economy of the European Union hard. This urges a rapid, coordinated, and forward-looking response to cope with unprecedented health, economic and social consequences for all.

From a business perspective we are convinced that such response requires the EU recovery plans to support sustainable investments in projects and reforms fully aligned with the Paris agreement objectives and the goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Indeed, a large number of authoritative studies and economic research1,2 show that a green recovery holds the opportunity to provide short term boost to local economies and job creation while supporting, in the long term, the modernisation of our economic system and the ecological transition.

For these reasons and in view of the current discussion on the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation (RRF), we call on you to follow the indications received by your colleagues of the ENVI Committee in its Opinion of 14 October 2020 and in particular to ensure that:

At least 40% of the RRF’s total budget is earmarked to finance climate actions and addresses, over the next ten years, the economic, health, environmental and social consequences of climate changes, especially on the young and future generations.

The EU Taxonomy is used to assess both the eligibility and tracking of the investments included in the national recovery and resilience plans.

The RRF supports the achievement of the energy and climate targets for 2030 and 2050. In this perspective, national recovery and resilience plans should prioritise investments in areas such as energy efficient building renovations rather than lock-in resources in fossil fuel infrastructures that undermine the achievement of the Union’s climate and environmental objectives.

 

See the full letter here

Unique gathering of organisations call for more ambitious climate targets

Ahead of the European Council’s discussion on the ambition level of the new 2030 climate target, a unique gathering of businesses, investor groups, local and regional authorities and NGOs published a joint letter calling on the EU leaders to agree on the most ambitious target level.

Signed by the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) and other 46 organisations, representing over 2.700 cities, 330 regions, €62 trillion in investment portfolio, more than 800 companies and 330 NGOs, the joint letter clearly expresses the desire of European stakeholders to have the EU’s 2030 climate target substantially increased. Building on the recent proposal from the European Commission, the signatories hope European Member States will improve what is proposed, and in particular call for decisive action to remove emissions through Nature Based Solutions to come on top of the needed strong emission reductions in other sectors.

The letter welcomes the Commission’s proposal to substantially increase the EU’s 2030 climate target and states that the Member States should agree on at least -55% while some civil society organisations supporting the letter are already calling for at least -65% emission reductions. European stakeholders encourage Member States to achieve increased climate target both by strong emission reductions as well as decisive action to remove emissions through Nature Based Solutions in line with the need to protect Europe’s biodiversity.

European cities, regions, businesses, investors, NGOs and local communities, underline that only ambitious climate action can avert the most dire future costs of climate change impacts and provide a unique societal and economic opportunity to achieve a socially just transition for all European regions.

 

Download the full letter here