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How do the proposed new EU climate and energy targets stack up?

Authors: Bettina Kretschmer, Raphael Sauter, David Baldock

The Commission has suggested major changes in policy for 2030, with fewer binding targets. An institute briefing offers an analysis of what is proposed and sets out some proposals of where the package of measures could be strengthened, especially in relation to renewable energy and energy conservation.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Given the current political climate in parts of Europe, the Commission’s proposed 40 per cent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target for 2030 represents progress. Although less than needed it is a starting point for further negotiation. This target, however, came at the expense of a serious weakening of the new framework compared to the EU’s 2020 energy and climate package, adopted in 2009.
  • Any attempts to weaken the proposed 2030 framework further, in particular a reduction of the GHG target, will need to be resisted vigorously, not least to maintain the EU’s credibility in the upcoming global climate negotiations. The ball is now firmly in the court of the Member States and the European Parliament.
  • Very disappointingly, the Commission suggests a step back in European energy policy with the removal of binding national renewable energy targets. A binding EU-level target on its own appears a potentially rather void instrument and will not deliver the necessary investments in low-carbon technologies.
  • The lack of any proposed EU target on energy efficiency aggravates the situation further.
  • The 2030 Communication calls for energy security, affordable energy and investments in low-carbon technologies to ensure long-term economic growth. To meet all these goals requires drivers for a major energy transition. This could be provided by a set of targets that help to create a market demand for low carbon technologies, now in order to benefit from technological leadership and low-cost domestic energy sources into the future. 

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