European climate law must not be an empty shell

by Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy

This op-ed was published on Euractiv


European climate law risks being just an empty shell if it does not show the choices needed to reach climate neutrality. Furthermore, this would weaken the whole Green Deal process and diminish its credibility, writes Monica Frassoni.

A too short and modest proposal would risk hijacking the EU transition to climate neutrality. For climate law to live up to the expectations raised by the European Green Deal, the Commission must clearly indicate what is necessary to achieve a climate-neutral EU by 2050: this means giving priority to energy efficiency and renewables.

At the beginning of March, the European Commission is expected to publish its proposal for a European climate law that will aim to provide a clear trajectory to climate neutrality, certainty for investors and policymakers and transparency to ensure proper governance and monitoring of progress.

What looks to be the final output of the proposal, which is likely to be revealed by the EU executive next week, is, however, very disappointing both in terms of clarity and ambition.

We agree with the Commission that the climate law should be as straightforward as possible.

But this does not mean omitting essential elements, like the inclusion of intermediate milestones for 2030 and 2040, entailing the commitment to an increased and mandatory EE and RES targets; integrating the energy efficiency first principle and applying it to all energy planning and investments; promoting policy coherence across the board, including the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.

Indeed, the Commission should orientate the EU’s action towards what is the fastest and most cost-effective way to reduce emissions by putting the Energy Efficiency First principle (EE1st) at the core of the climate law.

If we want to embrace the 100% renewables-based energy system that a successful and just transition entails, we need to cut our energy demand by half by 2050 in comparison to 2005.

This choice will create new opportunities and jobs; it will facilitate the reduction of EU dependence on imports of crude oil and natural gas and thus increase our energy security.

Energy efficiency includes multiple benefits, which, combined with an increased use of renewables, simultaneously address the major societal, economic and environmental challenges facing the EU energy system today.

Moreover, the climate law should set an intermediate GHG emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030. This is in line with recent studies suggesting a 55% or higher target for 2030 is both necessary to remain in line with the 2050 climate neutrality goal and feasible from a technical and economic point of view.

The increased 55% reduction target is also supported by a clear majority of members of the European Parliament.

It is extremely important that European Commission signals to businesses and society at large that it is taking the right measures at the right time to tackle the climate challenges and ensures the competitiveness and sustainability of our economic and social systems.

This would give us, businesses, and other economic players a clear direction to act and to invest in the EU.

The European Green Deal is a particularly positive beginning for the new European Commission, which pledges to address the climate crisis and, by doing so, shapes the future of Europe’s economy and society and leads by example.

Exactly for these reasons, the climate law proposal should meet that same level of ambition. Having a text which looks like an empty shell would weaken the whole Green Deal process and diminish its credibility and transformational impetus. We cannot afford this.

Useful links


Join us
Contact us

Follow us


Privacy Policy

© All right reserved

EU-ASE response to European Commission consultation on climate law

According to the Commission LTS, the EU must halve its energy consumption by 2050. Energy efficiency therefore must play a central role in achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

Considering that the world economy will triple by 2050 and that global population will increase by nearly 2.3 billion by 2050, energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to decouple economic growth from emissions.

Significant reductions in overall energy demand will come from energy use in buildings. Residential and commercial buildings currently account for 40 % of EU energy consumption – with 75 % of these buildings being built before energy performance standards existed – 36% of emissions and 50% of the total mineral resources extracted from the planet. Most of the housing stock of 2050 already exists and will need to be renovated. Our building stock needs to become net zero carbon, which involves ramping up the rate and depth of renovation and ensuring efficient and decarbonised energy supply in the building sector. The “Renovation Wave” needs to build from the implementation of the Long Term Renovation Strategies, but also explore new drivers and triggers, including regulation, in order to scale up what has worked well in some countries.

 

Full text available via the link below

 

EU-ASE contributes to Coalition’s Energy Efficiency package for the European Green Deal

The EU and its Member States have committed to achieving a significant reduction of their overall energy demand by agreeing on 20% and 32.5% energy efficiency targets for 2020 and 2030 respectively. Those targets set by the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) are minimum targets for which the Member States have to pledge indicative national contributions. In order to secure the achievement of these targets, the EU provides binding measures, including:

  • the energy savings obligation (EED Article 7), requiring each Member State to put in place policies and measures to deliver a minimum amount of new and additional energy savings per year until 2050;
  • Ecodesign, Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and CO2 emission standards for vehicles to ensure that CO2 emissions are reduced, and energy performance is significantly improved.

Although the current policy architecture (EU headline target, indicative national contributions and binding measures) has led to improvements, it is still not delivering enough. Energy consumption has been growing over the last years, and the European Commission does not expect the 2020 target to be achieved. Furthermore, the national 2030 energy efficiency national contributions put forward by Member States in their draft national energy and climate plans (NECPs) bring the EU only halfway to its 2030 energy savings target compared to the baseline.

In this context, the Coalition for Energy Savings notes that the Commission intends to reinforce the existing policy framework. Not delivering the minimum energy efficiency target is not an option. On the contrary, the 2030 target will need
to be revised to get on a path to net-zero emissions and to tap the cost-effective energy efficiency potential of at least 40%.

The Coalition for Energy Savings calls on the Commission to strongly support full implementation and enforcement of existing legislation and, in parallel, to put in place new measures to increase the ambition.

The Coalition proposes the following Energy Efficiency Package as an enabler to deliver the European Green Deal.

At Climate law conference Monica Frassoni highlights importance of energy efficiency to decarbonise Europe

Speech by EU-ASE president Monica Frassoni at High-level public conference on implementing the European Green Deal and Climate Law

Brussels, Tuesday 28 January 2020

“The production and use of energy across economic sectors account for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency (EE) must be prioritised. If we all want to go towards electrification, digitalisation and all the necessary elements that a successful and just transition entails, we need to cut radically our energy demand, by half by 2050 in comparison to 2005, says the Commission.

In other words, we need to fully implement EE FIRST in the decision making and planning of EU energy infrastructure including facilities for generation, transmission, distribution and end-use consumption. This should be addressed in the review of TEN-E, PCI list and in the design of the EU decarbonization package.

We are not yet there I am afraid. EE is still the Cinderella of the energy debate.

Considering the little time we have ahead of us to fully decarbonize and decouple growth from energy consumption, it strikes me how much more attractive seem to be to run incredible risks like investing billions in tax-payers money in not yet fully working technologies like trying to “recycle” gas infrastructures or to capture CO2, instead than rushing to make our houses more comfortable and smart or our industries and transport systems less dependent on the moods of foreign leaders.

Technologies are there, numbers are clear. The building sector impacts 20 million jobs and 92% of companies are SMEs. According to the EC Impact Assessment, for every 1% extra energy savings by 2030:  EU gas imports fall by 4%, GHG emissions decrease by 0.7%, Employment increases by 336,000 jobs. How many other sectors have a better business case in terms of job creation?

Let’s face it. If we need to be fully decarbonized by 2050 or earlier, all public efforts must go to energy efficiency and renewables. And no public money should go to activities that go against this landmark objective. Climate law should be very clear to help us avoid doing like Penelope, who undid in the night what she wove in the day.”

Open letter from the Coalition for Higher Ambition on Cohesion Policy

24 January 2020

OPEN LETTER TO THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: EUROPE NEEDS AND WANTS AN AMBITIOUS, EFFECTIVE AND FOSSIL FUEL FREE COHESION POLICY DELIVERING ON CLIMATE NEUTRALITY

President of the European Council, Charles Michel

President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli

Executive Vice President of the Commission Frans Timmermans

Commissioner Elisa Ferreira

Commissioner Johannes Hahn

Director General, Marc Lemaitre

All three EU institutions must seize the final opportunity to ensure that Cohesion Policy supports a truly sustainable and just transition to climate neutrality for all regions while leaving no-one behind.

EU citizens and scientists are calling on the institutions to act on the climate emergency. In December, the European Council committed the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This requires all EU funding instruments to implement and support ambitious EU climate and energy objectives. 

EU funding has a huge, though currently untapped potential to address the climate challenge. An additional €260 billion per year will be needed to make the transition happen. Investment must also be carried out in a way that fairly addresses the social impacts of climate action, ensuring no one is left behind and the benefits are redistributed, alongside the costs. This is why ongoing negotiations on the 2021 to 2027 multiannual financial framework, including those around the Cohesion Policy, are vital in aligning EU funding with climate objectives.

We therefore call on the Council, Parliament and Commission to: 

  1. Support the full exclusion of fossil fuel investments from EU financing
    Investing in fossil fuels locks-in polluting technology and infrastructure, diverting funds away from longer-term, sustainable investments that contribute to Europe’s future economic prosperity and security. The Commission’s proposal and the Parliament’s position exclude fossil fuels from the next generation of Cohesion Policy funding. The Council needs to withdraw its request for continued EU financing of fossil fuel.
  2. Uphold the Partnership Principle in all programming, implementation and monitoring of EU cohesion policy
    Achieving climate neutrality and rolling-out the Just Transition requires involving all relevant stakeholders. The development of programming documents, implementation of programmes and projects as well as monitoring EU funds must therefore involve and bring together all relevant partners from the local and national levels. Both Member States and the Commission have to ensure the full involvement of partners from the onset of the new programming process, both in legislative provisions and in practice, in order to guarantee EU funds genuinely benefit climate action in all EU’s regions.
  3. Support strong climate mainstreaming and ensure that all EU funding programmes and projects are embedded in strategies that support climate objectives
    The Commission proposal highlights the important role Cohesion Policy will play in addressing climate change in a socially fair way. To deliver on the transition, a binding 40 per cent earmarking for climate and environment across all Cohesion Policy funding has to be adopted, and climate neutrality compatibility and objectives must be embedded in all future spending plans. 

The Parliament’s position on the European Regional Development Fund, Cohesion Fund and the Common Provisions Regulation is close to bringing EU funds in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. However, it is the responsibility of all three EU institutions to realise the full potential of the €374 billion to deliver on the just transition towards climate neutrality, as demanded by European citizens.

The EU is at a critical moment. The next decade of EU funding will be crucial if Member States are to set off down a pathway that is consistent with the international commitments under the Paris Agreement and if they are to promote a transition that is socially fair, sustainable and advantageous to their citizens and their economies.

The undersigned organisations urge you to accept these recommendations and negotiate a Cohesion Policy fit to achieve the joint objectives of addressing climate change and supporting regional territorial cohesion.

Ester Asin   Wendel Trio   Huub Scheele
Director   Director   Interim Executive Director
WWF European Policy Office   Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe   CEE Bankwatch Network

 

List of undersigning stakeholders:

Useful links


Join us
Contact us

Follow us


Privacy Policy

© All right reserved