EU-ASE supports call from over 150 CEOs urging EU to raise 2030 emissions target

In a critical year for climate action, five years on from the landmark Paris Agreement and with the clock ticking for countries to ratchet up ambition before the end of the 2020, CEOs from over 150 European businesses, investors and business networks are calling on EU policymakers to support an EU 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of at least 55%, necessary to raise the pace and focus of transition efforts for the EU to become a climate-neutral continent by 2050.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) and its President Monica Frassoni are proud to support this call and to join such group of progressive businesses at a crucial time for Europe and the World. Among EU-ASE membership, the signatories include the CEOs of the following companies: Signify, Schneider Electric, Saint-Gobain, and Knauf Insulation.

The letter states:

“What we urgently need to see next is an ambitious implementation of the recovery package focused on achieving a green and digital transition, with the European Green Deal at its core and an elevated short-term emissions reduction target in its sights.”

“The right decisions now can help create and protect healthy, thriving and fair communities and secure a roadmap for a prosperous economy. Delivering Europe’s long-term ambition to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050 requires an extensive set of urgent measures to scale up action. From a business and investor perspective, clarity on the net zero transition pathway and timetables for each sector, as well as policy that enables substantial investments in carbon neutral solutions is essential.

“We are writing to call on you, as European leaders, to avoid the worst effects of climate change and secure a sustainable, competitive economic recovery by:

  • endorsing the ambition set out in the European Green Deal
  • submitting resilient recovery plans which enable the green investments needed to deliver climate neutrality
  • agreeing a clearly defined target to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and associated objectives

“We understand the risks posed by climate change and biodiversity loss to our businesses and are already working to unlock change in key economic sectors. Investors, banks and insurers are working to transition portfolios to net zero emissions. More than 900 companies are taking science-based climate action and more than 400 have approved science-based targets. We are investing heavily in clean energy, energy efficiency and electrification, lowering emissions across value chains and the lifecycle of our products, and developing better practices in the bioeconomy.”

As a strong signal of business and investor leadership for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery, the letter is being profiled by the UN Climate Champions Race To Zero campaign at the Opening Day of Climate Week NYC. The letter is being presented to Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans.

The signatories, members of the Corporate Leaders Groups, the We Mean Business coalition, as well as IIGCC and Business Ambition for 1.5C, and many business networks from across Europe, acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis, calling on the EU to lead the way towards decarbonisation of the global economy by 2050 at the latest.

Download the letter here

Open letter: An ambitious Renovation Wave now

Brussels, 14 September 2020

 

In December 2019, the Renovation Wave was announced as a key European initiative to support the European Green Deal. It has been made clear that decarbonising the EU’s building stock will support massive job creation and sustainable growth, driving the economic recovery from the ongoing economic and health crisis.

We have been very supportive of this flagship EU initiative since the start. This is why we now express our concern on the recently announced delay to the presentation of this vital initiative in addition to the apparent lack of dedicated EU funding for this initiative.

The foundations for an effective and ambitious Renovation Wave based on concrete actions and ‘shovel-ready’ solutions must be:

Integrated building renovations: Boosting integrated renovations for energy efficient, renewable-based and flexible buildings, to attain climate neutrality in the most cost-effective and timely manner, including the development of industrial style renovations to accelerate speed,

Energy Efficiency and Renewables First principle: in line with the Energy System Integration Strategy and the upcoming Climate Law, these principles must be applied to all aspects of building renovations, also looking at the broader energy system dimension and improving the Indoor Environmental Quality, health and wellbeing of people,

Dedicated financial flows: it is crucial to secure a dedicated financial envelope within the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and other available funding sources, to increase the rate and quality of the renovation and to support integrated building renovations that will deliver decarbonisation before 2050. Instead of an unclear allocation of resources to integrated building renovations within InvestEU, a dedicated “European Renovation Financing Facility”, financed with at least 90 billion euros per annum, would be fit for this purpose,

Structured partnership: it is key to regularly bring together Member States, regional governments, financial institutions, consumer organisations and stakeholders involved in integrated building renovations to report on progress, identify bottlenecks and remedial actions to ensure the pace of renovations remains aligned to the need for decarbonisation before 2050. An alignment with the European Climate Pact would strengthen the ownership of integrated building renovations by citizens and local communities.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy recently made concrete and ambitious proposals to make the Renovation Wave a success. We now call on the other EU institutions and on EU Member States to demonstrate the same level of ambition and we are at your disposal to work with you and roll out the full potential of this initiative.

Signatories

 

Download the letter here

Open Letter: The importance of Minimum Energy Performance Standards to spur the Renovation Wave

Brussels, 9 September 2020

 

Dear Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans,

The upcoming Strategic Communication on the Renovation Wave is crucial to deliver on the objectives of the European Green Deal and the EU Recovery Plan, since faster and deeper energy renovations are a must for a climate-neutral Europe and a clear win-win investment priority for a green and fair recovery.

We are contacting you to stress the importance of Minimum Energy Performance Standards for existing buildings in the EU legislative framework to fill the EU policy gap and make the Renovation Wave a success. Two recent studies by RAP (2020) and CE Delft (2020) show that Minimum Energy Performance Standards can stimulate the required volume and depth of renovation, and effectively make the EU building stock highly energy efficient, renewable-based, smart and flexible at the center of a decentralized energy system, which is essential for the EU to meet its climate targets and recover from the crisis.

What are Minimum Energy Performance Standards?

Minimum Energy Performance Standards require buildings to meet a predefined minimum energy performance standard, set for example in terms of an energy rating, which must be reached by a specified date or at a certain moment in the natural life of the building (sale, change in tenure). The standards can be progressively tightened over time in line with the EU’s climate and energy objectives.

What are the benefits of Building Energy Performance Standards?

Minimum Energy Performance Standards can ensure that the worst-performing buildings are upgraded and can help get the EU building stock on a trajectory towards climate neutrality. They can support the alleviation of energy poverty, by reducing energy bills for better and more comfortable homes, if accompanied with adequate social safeguards to help ensure the affordability of housing.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards are already in use worldwide, including in several EU countries, such as the Netherlands, France and Belgium. They are a proven policy solution that can help overcome the significant barriers that have hindered energy renovation to date, when introduced as part of a comprehensive renovation policy framework. These standards signal the transition and destination for the entire building stock and individual buildings, which helps align the demand for supply chains, providing impetus for business and social innovation. They can also direct the take-up of funding towards buildings most in need of energy renovation, improving the effectiveness, dispersion and absorption of existing and new programmes. If done right with sufficient lead times, the standards allow the market to mobilise itself and properly plan for the transformation.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards now need to be included in EU legislation

It is for all these reasons that earlier this year the Industry Committee of the European Parliament called on the Commission to “develop a legislative framework for the introduction of minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings that are progressively tightened over time in line with the 2050 objective”.

Any set of measures aiming at tripling the renovation rate and reaching a highly energy-efficient and decarbonized building stock by 2050 must include Minimum Energy Performance Standards to be successful. We therefore expect the European Commission to put forward legislative proposals in the immediate future to introduce Minimum Energy Performance Standards, making use of the available funding and technical assistance to support their introduction. There are different options how this can be done at the EU-level, e.g. by strengthening relevant articles of existing energy and building legislation, proposing incremental targets across the whole building stock, or by setting an obligation based on results.

As a flagship of the European Green Deal and the EU Recovery Plan, we look to you to ensure that the Renovation Wave includes an action plan with new measures including Minimum Energy Performance Standards to ensure delivery of the Renovation Wave’s ambitions and to provide tangible benefits to EU citizens.

 

Download the letter here

Leading businesses urge Governments to put building renovation at the centre of recovery plans

Ahead of the important European Council meeting of next 17-18 July, EU-ASE addressed a letter to the 27 EU Heads of State and government to call for leadership and long-term political vision for managing the economic and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Brussels, 14 July 2020

 

Dear Leaders of Europe,

 

The health and socio-economic crisis caused by Covid-19 calls for unprecedented decisions in the process of designing resilience and recovery plans. We have now an opportunity for Europe as a whole to make a great leap forward towards new and more sustainable economic models, instead of going back to the pre-crisis status quo. Now more than ever, Europe needs your bold political vision to implement immediate measures and to quickly fix the damages left behind by COVID-19, while investing in our long-term future. This opportunity should not be wasted.

As businesses and investors having energy efficiency and energy demand reduction at the heart of our activities, we expect Europe’s global climate leadership to be translated into measures which will lead to a green recovery and positive long term impact for citizens, business and the environment. As an example, the Renovation Wave is a unique opportunity to promote a European based industry, with technologies and expertise able to serve the renovation demand locally. Investing in the comprehensive renovation of the European building stock will help maintain the competitive advantage of the European construction value chain and create local jobs, while lifting millions of Europeans out of energy poverty. But despite its great potential, only a few Member States have committed to this objective by submitting their Long-Term Renovation Strategies due in March.

According to the European Commission’s recovery strategy released last month, the renovation of buildings across Europe is key and the upcoming Renovation Wave Initiative will be critical to stress the positive impact that sustainable and energy efficient buildings can have on health, well-being and quality of life; emission reduction and climate change; economic recovery and job creation. According to a recent study, for every €1 million invested in energy renovation of buildings, an average of 18 jobs are created in the EU. These are local, long-term jobs that will stimulate economic growth and will help drive us out of the economic crisis.

In order to fully realize Europe’s building renovation potential, it is paramount to increase the renovation rate of the building stock to a minimum of a 3% per year and make renovation programmes the cornerstone of the national recovery and resilience plans that you are due to present next October.

In view of the above, we look forward to working with you to decarbonize the EU building stock by 2050.

Yours sincerely,

Monica Frassoni
President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)

 

Download the letter

 

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

Letter calls upon the REGI Committee to exclude fossil fuels from the Just Transition Fund

Dear Member of the REGI Committee, 

We call on you to vote in favour of a better future for communities by voting for regions to leap forward, not backwards. In your vote on the 6 July, we ask the REGI Committee to exclude fossil fuels from the Just Transition Fund – including fossil gas – and support a just transition for all. 

Fossil gas is a fuel with substantial CO2 and methane emissions contributing to climate change and its catastrophic impacts on people and biodiversity. Methane is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 20-year period, making it the second most important greenhouse gas, contributing to 25% of warming experienced today. 

Fossil gas infrastructure is also not compatible with most renewable gases, and almost certainly not for renewable gases at scale. The European Commission and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have successively scaled down gas demand projections for 2030. 

The EU’s Just Transition Fund is an integral part of the EU Green Deal. It has the potential to ensure that Europe’s transition to a climate neutral, resilient and healthy future leaves no region – or person – behind. But this requires a strong commitment to a climate-neutrality goal that would limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. 

Communities have an opportunity to leap forward to a more sustainable, more resilient and healthier future away from carbon extractive industries. Investing in fossil gas comes with huge cost to the climate, Europe’s competitiveness and European societies. Meanwhile, renewable energy investments bring up to three times more jobs per euro invested than the same amount invested in fossil fuels – and renewable jobs are more likely to be local than those in fossil gas. 

It’s time to face the truth: fossil gas has no place in EU funds, including the Just Transition Fund. The Council realised this and so too must the Parliament.

Read the full statement