We have all been figuring out how to meet our Paris climate commitments. The European Union has been ramping up its level of ambition as well as the means to achieving those targets. This week the European Commission adopted a package of proposals to make the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. As the Commission states, achieving these emission reductions in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality.
The Fit for 55 package containing hundreds of pages of legislative proposals, includes the increased energy efficiency and renewable energy targets, a new EU emissions trading system (ETS) for buildings and road transport, a profound restructuring of energy taxation in Europe, the introduction of a carbon border adjustment mechanism, revised CO2 emissions standards for new cars and much more.
Understandably there has been a wide range of reactions and no doubt there will be many more.
Here are two overviews that can give a good picture of the entire package. Politico has prepared this article on 10 key policies and warn that the proposals are set to spark new political fights. Bruegel has an excellent blog and say that Europe is the global first mover in turning a long-term net-zero goal into real-world policies, marking the entry of climate policy into the daily life of all citizens and businesses.
Let us review a few of the reactions relating to energy efficiency. Next week we can look at other areas.
The Coalition for Energy Savings believes that the proposal on the recast of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) strengthens the existing framework to enable the new EU 2030 climate target and recognises that energy efficiency supports a fairer transition in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal. Still, the energy efficiency potential will not be fully tapped as the 2030 energy efficiency target remains too low.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) states that the European Commission is missing another historic opportunity to phase out fossil fuels in the ‘Fit for 55’ package, leaving the door open for coal, gas and oil to stay in the EU energy system for at least another two decades while sending the “polluter pays” bill to EU citizens.
The European Alliance to Save Energy states that the package has the potential of being an essential milestone in the EU’s pathway towards a decarbonised economy. Its adoption and application will have long lasting effects upon EU citizens and businesses. However, it cautions that still lacks ambition on EU and national targets.
EuroACE states that the package is well-designed and fully interconnected EU legislation will be the main driver for the achievement of the EU goals to transform our building stock to be highly energy efficient and decarbonised.
The European Heat Pump Association says the Commission’s Fit for 55 package is a key step in the right direction to make Europe’s heating and cooling sector sustainable but the level of ambition for heating and cooling from renewables needs to be doubled.
EUROFER says that the package needs a more finely balanced approach to enable the decarbonisation of EU steel industry whilst avoiding the leakage of production and CO2 emissions outside the EU.
I could go on but the point is made that this package is both welcome and necessary. It is complex covering many important but difficult topics. The package now goes to the European Parliament and Council and there will be endless negotiations. Fortunately, there is increasing awareness that decision time has come. Much more has to be done to mitigate GHG emissions. What Europe does will have global ramifications in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow and well beyond. The floods in Germany and neighbouring countries, the heatwaves in western US and Canada, the recent fires in Australia and many more show that globally we have so much to do. It is essential that all Europeans take a positive approach. and we end up with a policy framework that we can all be proud of.