EUASE welcomes climate neutrality and energy efficiency in EU climate law, regrets lack of engagement on 2030 target

Brussels, 4 March 2020 – Today the European Commission unveiled its proposal for a European Climate Law, which enshrines the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 into EU legislation. The text establishes that, when setting a trajectory to reach such a goal, the Commission shall take into consideration “energy efficiency, energy affordability and security of supply” among other elements.

We welcome the fact that the climate law enshrines the climate neutrality objective into EU legislation. We are also glad to see that the Commission will have to consider energy efficiency when setting the EU trajectory towards climate neutrality” – said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). “We look forward to continuing to work with EU institutions and Member States to highlight how Energy Efficiency First is an indispensable principle to reduce emissions, integrate RES, and achieve a fast, fair and cost-effective transition to a climate neutral EU,” she added.

We do regret nevertheless that the Commission did not already include an intermediate emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030, considering the urgency of the situation and the devastating impact of climate change on our economies and societies,” President Frassoni stated. “We are also disappointed to see that the impact assessment is confirmed for September 2020. We believe that such assessment should be ready by June at the latest to let the EU take the lead in the next global meeting on climate change happening at the COP26 in Glasgow. We call on the EP and Council to improve the current draft during the upcoming legislative process.”

 

Media contact:

Matteo Guidi

+32 493 37 21 42 – matteo.guidi@euase.eu

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Open letter to Executive Vice-President Timmermans on European climate law

Broad cross-sectorial coalition of stakeholders calls for EU climate law to recognize the role of energy efficiency and renewables to reach climate neutrality by 2050

Dear Executive Vice-President Timmermans,

The European Green Deal  is a particularly positive beginning for the new European Commission. We welcome the Commission pledge to address the climate crisis and, by doing so, shape the future of Europe’s economy and society and lead by example worldwide.

We have come together as stakeholders representing energy efficiency and renewable technologies, local governments, regional organizations, think tanks and non-for profit organizations to express the need for climate law to orient the action of the EU towards what is the fastest and most cost-effective way to reduce emissions: the recognition of the Energy Efficiency First principle, which is a prerequisite for the much needed deployment of a 100% renewable-based energy supply.  This will boost the European economy by creating new opportunities and jobs and reduce our dependence on energy imports.

As such, we recommend to:

  • Recognize Energy Efficiency First as an overarching principle of the EU Climate Law governance
  • Include an intermediate GHG emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030.
  • Mainstream policy coherence with increased and mandatory energy efficiencyrenewable energy and carbon emissions targets.

We ask you to consider these recommendations and bring forward a climate law proposal which will recognise the role of energy efficiency as a potent and critical catalyst to the massive scale-up of renewables in a resource-constrained planet.

We look forward to cooperating with you to make Europe the first climate neutral continent.

 

List of undersigning stakeholders:

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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.

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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

 

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.”