Inconsistencies Between Dull Commission Energy Package And Paris Agreement

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bulb-light-with-tree-inside-on-blue-background-by-mattwalker69-via-flickr

The ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package released by the European Commission today has inconsistencies with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, and disregards the fact that the climate crisis poses an urgent existential threat.

According to Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, the package will not help the EU reap the benefits of a shift to a fully renewable and efficient energy system.

Commenting on the package, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“The Commission missed an opportunity to put forward proposals that boost climate action in the EU, closing eyes to our obligations under the Paris Agreement. The whole world is jumping on the renewables bandwagon, but the Commission failed to propose strong laws to fast-track the switch from fossil fuels to renewables in the EU. The positive but incremental step to increase the energy efficiency target from 27 to 30 percent must pave the way for a complete overhaul of EU climate and energy policies. We now count on the European Parliament and EU governments to raise the low targets and improve the lenient rules.”

The EU renewable energy target of at least 27 percent represents barely more than business-as-usual. The Commission leaves it entirely up to Member States to ensure that their contributions add up to the EU target. Moreover, the Commission proposes to cancel the renewable energy right to get priority over other, polluting energy sources on European electricity grids. Finally, the proposed criterion for approving Member States’ capacity mechanisms would apply only to new power plants, meaning that capacity mechanisms could be used as a backdoor to subsidise old coal-fired power stations.

Commenting on the Renewable Energy, Governance and Market Design legislative proposals, CAN Europe’s Renewables Policy Coordinator Jean-François Fauconnier said:

The proposals as they stand would cause Europe to drift dangerously off course from the global shift to renewable energy that is happening everywhere.

“The Commission deserves severe criticism for proposing to undermine market access for renewable energy. The proposals do not reflect the increasing economic benefits of renewable energy and citizens’ desire to participate in the market. The Commission chose to propose a very weak set of rules to appease backward looking Member States, and harmful and outdated fossil fuel industries.”

The main mechanism to deliver energy savings under the Energy Efficiency Directive, the obligation to save 1.5 percent of energy every year for each EU country, will be extended beyond 2020. At the same time, the Commission did not remove any of the loopholes that currently allow the EU countries to lower the savings to be achieved by around a half.

Commenting on the proposal for the Energy Efficiency Directive, CAN Europe’s Energy Savings Policy Coordinator Dora Petroula said:

“Extension of the savings obligation will provide certainty to investors and thus help Europe with its efforts to cut energy waste, reaping the benefits for European citizens and businesses. However, keeping the loopholes means reducing the benefits by half. It is also at odds with Europe’s commitments under the Paris Agreement, which requires us to go further and faster, not stop half way and pretend it is done.”