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:

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Energy efficiency in new EU Commission proposals on Green Deal Investment Plan and Just Transition Fund good first step towards greater ambition

Statement

Brussels (14 Jan 2020) – Today, the European Commission unveiled its communication on the European Green Deal Investment Plan (EGDIP) and its proposal for a regulation establishing a Just Transition Fund (JTF), which is part of a broader Just Transition Mechanism (JTM). The two tools are part of a package aimed to finance the EU’s bid to become climate neutral by 2050, while supporting coal-dependent regions to take the necessary steps to transition towards a decarbonized economy.

“We welcome these initiatives, which come at a crucial moment in Europe’s decarbonization process”said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). “As one of the main cross-sectorial business associations in Europe advocating for energy efficiency, we are pleased to see that in both the European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Fund there is a clear reference to energy efficiency. We also welcome the proposal to revise State Aid rules to give Member States more scope to invest in the energy efficiency of buildings.”

“With regards to the JTF, we expect it to be financed with fresh, additional resources whose access should be conditioned to serious commitments towards climate neutrality by the beneficiary countries.”

“We will follow with keen interest the debate around these proposals – Monica Frassoni concluded – and we look forward to providing our input to make energy efficiency’s role even more prominent, in line with the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle. This with the aim to make full advantage of the economic, environmental and social benefits that energy efficiency can bring to citizens and businesses.”

 
 
 
 

European Green Deal requires energy efficiency first to set new course for economic growth, climate protection and social inclusion

Today, the European Commission unveiled its European Green Deal to address European and global concerns about the devastating effects of climate change.
The communication acknowledges that in the effort to reduce GHG emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, energy efficiency must be prioritised.
This is good newssaid Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energythe reduction of energy consumption is the first indispensable step to drive the energy transition towards renewable supply and contribute to emission reductions. The timing of Green Deal is perfectly aligned with the European Parliament declaration of a climate emergency as well as an unprecedented climate mobilization of young people and citizens from across the globe”.
The Communication lacks a specific reference to the Energy Efficiency First principle and the commitment to increase the 2030 energy efficiency target. “We believe that efficiency first must be absolutely central to the European energy system and should guide all future energy planning and investments. We look forward – concluded Monica Frassoni – to working with the Commission services to underline the social, economic and environmental benefits of systematically apply the Energy Efficiency First principle across the energy value chain”.

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Businesses position on recast of Drinking Water Directive

Position on Recast of Drinking Water Directive

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the European Parliament report on the recast of the Drinking Water Directive as well the General approach of Council on the Drinking Water Directive. The recast of the Drinking Water Directive signifies a step in the right direction in updating the legislative framework to the challenges faced by the drinking water sector.
In view of the ongoing trilogues, the European Alliance to Save Energy would like to highlight that we strongly support the European Parliament’s position on:

  • the mandatory introduction of Member State water leakage reduction targets
  • and requirements for water utilities to publicly disclose information on water leakage rates and energy performance

As such, we ask to support these measures throughout the trilogue negotiations process with a view to including them in the finally agreed text.

We also suggest compromise proposals which would help reduce the amount of non-revenue water and improve the energy efficiency of the water sector.

For any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

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