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

German Council presidency should straighten out its energy priorities and include building renovations

Today the German Government unveiled its EU Council Presidency priorities which lack a clear reference to the building renovation. As businesses and investors having energy efficiency and energy demand reduction at the heart of our activities, we believe that the German government lost a great opportunity to prioritise a sector which, more than any other, can deliver economic growth, local jobs creation and GHG emission reduction.

“We welcome the German government pledge to learn from the current crisis to be better prepared for the future and the focus on climate change and digitisation. At the same time, we strongly encourage the inclusion of the construction sector and in particular the renovation of the European building stock among the Council presidency priorities” – said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE).

“For every million invested in the renovation of our homes we can create an average of 18 jobs. All the economic stimulus measures across the world address buildings. Finally the European Union is working on a flagship Renovation Wave initiative to trigger investments and accelerate the transformation of European society and economy towards climate neutrality. Therefore, it’s difficult to understand the decision to exclude buildings from the presidency’s priorities.”

“We have a lot of work to do to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and buildings must be at the centre of any rational energy, industrial and environmental strategy. With this in mind, we wish the German Government a successful presidency and look forward to constructive cooperation” – concluded Monica Frassoni.

 

Download the press release here (PDF)

Energy efficiency: green recovery ‘made in Europe’

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

This article featured in the summer 2020 edition of European Energy Innovation magazine


The Covid-19 pandemic is highly impacting our societies and is a major shock for the European and global economy. In this difficult context, the European Union has the opportunity to relaunch its economy guided by its long-term climate commitments, namely becoming climate neutral by 2050, while at the same time providing support to its many citizens who suddenly lost their work and income.

The recovery packages being prepared should not only aim at countering the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They should prepare the ground for a more prosperous, resilient, and sustainable future for our continent and the world.

Energy efficiency can help policymakers address the multiple challenges we are all faced with.

Energy efficiency is paramount for climate mitigation. Through existing technologies, it is possible to reduce energy consumption, increase the efficiency of the entire energy system and accelerate the integration of renewables. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 76% of the European greenhouse gas emission reductions required to keep temperature increases below 1.5°C must come from energy efficiency.

In the European Union, energy efficiency is one of the pillars of the European Green Deal. In the recent proposal of a European Climate Law, energy efficiency is part of the defining elements of the EU’s trajectory towards climate neutrality by 2050. Along the same lines, the current political focus on buildings renovations indicates that the EU institutions recognize the economic, social and environmental impact of a transition towards a highly efficient building stock. Last but not least, the European Commission recently highlighted in its EU Industrial Strategy that reducing emissions across industry, namely the most energy-intensive ones, will greatly depend on the wide implementation of efficiency measures and on the Energy Efficiency First principle.

When it comes to industrial strategy, economic growth and job creation, indeed, the full application of the Energy Efficiency First principle to all energy policymaking, planning and investments, can be a real change maker for the energy efficiency value chain and, as a consequence of this, for the European economy.

Our continent hosts some of the most innovative and successful energy efficiency companies in the world. The members of the European Alliance to Save Energy are global “champions” that export technologies and drive innovation. Hundreds of other players, especially SMEs, operate in this field across Europe.

Read the full article in European Energy Innovation

EU-ASE at IEA’s 5th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency

On 23 June 2020 EU-ASE president Monica Frassoni participated in the online panel debate “Learning from global best practice” as part of the International Energy Agency’s 5th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency. Here is her full speech

I would like to thank the IEA for your excellent work to make the energy efficiency (EE) agenda credible at global level. About 10 years ago it gave a major global push to show the role and the amazing potential of EE in buildings, transport, and industry and this was a major help for all the EE business and social community in the EU. As EU-ASE we have often used this work to make our agenda stronger, as our work focuses mostly on the EU legislation, at a supranational level.

Referring to what Mr Mathur said before – that EE is like a plane and it takes effort for a plane to take off – well in the EU we are still in the middle of the take-off effort. We cannot say that we are tapping the great potential of energy efficiency to contribute to the clean energy transition and to climate neutrality. We will not be able to overcome the Covid-19 shock and reach climate neutrality without additional financial and legislative measures and a better implementation of the current legislation.

The EU is tight together by common political, legal, and financial instruments, expressed in regulations, targets, subsidies and incentives. This is the case also for EE.

Today, as a result of the current crisis, we are at a decisive moment There is a lot of political work at all levels, intense discussions and work within the EU institutions, Member States, businesses, and the NGO community to make sure that the recovery measures will take the right direction.

A lot of things still ne to be done to mainstream energy efficiency in EU policies. Still, I would like to mention three EU “best practices” that are relevant globally, even if we are still far away from having a clear picture of how successful these will be.

The European Green Deal, in which energy efficiency has a key role to play, is important because it is a deal, it is green, and it is European. The Green Deal works as a framework for the implementation of the current rules and sets a direction for the next EU legislation.

In terms of energy efficiency there are three policy initiatives which are crucial to accelerate EE in the coming years. One is the Sector integration strategy, to be published in July. The second one is the Renovation wave initiative, that for us is key. Many speakers already mentioned the importance of renovating buildings, well, for the EU, the Renovation Wave is a major instrument to reduce emissions by 2050 to make the EU climate neutral. Increasing the current rate of renovation by three times is the main challenge we have in front of us.

Moreover, there is an upcoming review of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), which needs to be revised to make it up to the climate targets. We would like to see that the EU sets a GHG target of at least 55% by 2030 to achieve the climate neutrality goal by 2050.

Another very important element which was mentioned by Minister Claude Turmes this morning concerns the EU budget and the Recovery plan. We believe there should be a clear earmarking of EU funds not only to climate activities but also to the renovation of buildings. There is still a huge risk that the Recovery Plan will put resources to activities which are not in line with the EU climate goals.

We also call to increase the “climate action quota” to 40% for the entire EU Budget. And to explicitly exclude from all EU funds any fossil fuel activities. Finally, a small note concerning hydrogen and the hopes that it is raising in the public debate. We see a lot of space for hydrogen in hard-to-decarbonise sectors, namely in transport, but the main solution in buildings remains energy efficiency.

To conclude, I can say that in the EU we have the framework, we have some best practices, but we still have a lot of work ahead to deliver the policies needed in the next 20 to 30 years.

 

The recording of the full panel is available here

 

EU wide Renovation Wave: where growth strategy and job creation meet climate goals and social inclusiveness

Unlocking the potential for energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction that lies in the EU buildings stock is a top priority for the European Alliance to Save Energy.

 

As businesses and investors having energy efficiency and energy demand reduction at the heart of our activities, we look forward to seeing Europe’s global climate leadership translated in green measures which will lead to a sustainable recovery through stimulus packages. We strongly believe that the Renovation Wave as part of the EU Green Deal is a great opportunity to promote a European based industry, with technologies and expertise able to serve the renovation demand locally. This will help to maintain the competitive advantage of the European industry and will contribute to the European green recovery and local job creation while lifting millions of Europeans out of energy poverty.

We support a system-wide approach that puts highly energy efficient, renewable-based, smart and flexible buildings at the center of a fast-changing decentralized energy system.

With this in mind, we envisage an EU wide building Renovation Wave which revolves around the swift implementation of the Energy Efficiency First principle as the fastest and most cost-effective way to reduce emissions and stimulate sustainable economic recovery.

We are convinced that highly energy efficient and smart buildings are the first and indispensable step to:

  • Accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources
  • Foster sector integration of buildings with other sectors, including industry,
    transport and energy sectors
  • Catalyse energy system decentralization and enhance overall system efficiency
  • Stimulate a sustainable economic recovery, and boost local employment

For this to happen Europe must back an ambitious and impactful Renovation Wave which aims to increase the energy efficiency of buildings by reducing their energy consumption and by fostering the greater quality, the rate, and the depth of comprehensive renovations encompassing envelopes and technical buildings systems. Concretely, and to stay on track with the EPBD goal of decarbonizing the EU building stock by 2050, the Renovation Wave should be designed to reach a minimum of a 3% renovation rate per year combined with an average energy efficiency improvement of 75%.

The social impact of an EU wide energy efficient Renovation Wave would be tremendous. Improved comfort, cleaner indoor and outdoor air quality, reduced energy bills, the emerging role of prosumers with the possibility to optimise and monetise their energy resources on a peer-topeer market place, better and more qualified local jobs are just a few concrete examples of the multiple benefits that Energy Efficiency First in buildings would deliver to those who need them the most, i.e. live in energy poverty.

 

Download the full publication