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

EU-ASE response to the Inception Impact Assessment on the Revision of the UWWTD

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to the European Commission’s publication of an inception impact assessment on the revision of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD).

While the Directive has played a substantial role in improving the quality of European water resources and reducing pollution levels in water bodies, we believe that Europe remains some way from full compliance with collection and treatment requirements and has made little progress with water reuse.

We believe the 29-year-old Directive should be updated to better address these critical issues and today’s challenges including climate change, resource scarcity, increased energy consumption and population growth.

Based on this, EU-ASE would like to highlight the following recommendations to support the Commission in its ongoing work on the UWWTD revision.

1. Digitalisation as a key opportunity.

2. Make use of data transparency and advanced data analytics for a knowledge based
approach.

3. Preserving natural water resources with smart water management.

4. Better legal framework for urban runoff and storm water management.

5. Carbon neutral waste water management.

6. Circular economy for water.

7. Supporting investments. 

Download the full response

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

EU summit deal is good news for Europe’s recovery, but clearer rules are needed on climate conditionality

On Tuesday 21 July, after one of the longest summits in the European Union’s history EU Heads of State and Government stroke a deal on the recovery plan and multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes this historic result at a time when it is crucial to ensure Europe’s swift socio-economic recovery in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The recovery plan is a unique opportunity to address – in the long term – the devastating impact of climate change on our societies. The overall climate earmarking for both the Next Generation EU and the MFF was increased from 25% to 30%. Expenditures will have to be aligned with the objective to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and contribute to achieving the Union’s new 2030 climate targets, which will be updated by the end of the year. Moreover, the Council agreed that, as a general principle, all EU expenditure should be consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives and the “do no harm” principle.

While welcoming the new instruments and targets, EU-ASE regrets the heavy cuts to the Just Transition Fund and the InvestEU programmes, both very relevant to ensure a smooth transition to a climate neutral society.

Monica Frassoni, president of the European Alliance to Save Energy said: The increase in the climate earmarking, as well as the references to the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals are good signs. Moving forward, we need to further increase the percentage of climate mainstreaming and need clearer rules, including a stringent definition of harmful activities, to ensure that no EU-backed spending is directed to investments at odds with the climate neutrality goal.”

We hope that the European Parliament will call for higher climate ambition. EU-ASE looks forward to working with the Parliament and Member States to make sure that the overall green commitment is reflected in the relevant sectoral legislations and in the national Recovery and Resilience plans.”

The businesses represented in EU-ASE stress that energy efficiency must be prioritised across key sectors (buildings, industry, transport, ICT) and the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle should guide energy investments in view of the proven economic and social benefits of efficiency measures both in the short and longer term.

 

About EU-ASE
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) was established in December 2010 by some of Europe’s leading multinational companies. The Alliance creates a platform from which companies can ensure that the voice of energy efficiency is heard from across the business and political community. 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
+32 493 37 21 42
matteo.guidi@euase.eu