Environmental groups and countries called for ambitious and binding targets to be set when EU Commissioners met in Brussels yesterday in hopes to improve energy security. The EU has now announced member states must increase energy efficiency by 30% by 2030.
Friends of the Earth Europe previously said a target of 30% would be “grossly inadequate” but there were worries high targets could potentially conflict with the current EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
Leaders will decide in October this year as to whether this target should be legally binding.
EU Commissioners have said this target is ambitious and realistic, “Our proposal is the basis to drive the EU towards increased security of supply, innovation and sustainability, all in an affordable way. It is ambitious and at the same time it is realistic”, said Günther Oettinger, vice-president of the EU commission responsible for energy.
“Our aim is to give the right signal to the market and encourage further investments in energy saving technologies to the benefit of businesses, consumers and the environment”, he added.
It is thought the EU took on the views of new president Jean-Claude Juncker who previously commented that a 30% target should be the minimum.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) Europe have commented on the target saying it’s “bafflingly weak”.
“Europe is crying out for a way to reduce dependence on imported energy. The easiest, safest way to do this is to use less energy. Instead we’ve got a bafflingly weak target; it’s now up to the European Council and Parliament to push for more”, said Brook Riley, climate and energy campaigner at FoE Europe.
However, investors have praised the move with the Institutional investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) saying the target sends the message that energy efficiency is key in the climate and energy framework. Chief executive Stephanie Pfeifer added, “The Communication published today provides a positive signal to investors and demonstrates that the Commission recognises the key role of energy efficiency in the 2030 climate and energy framework.
“Improved energy efficiency will play a fundamental role in helping Europe achieve its climate, energy security and competitiveness goals.”
Photo: Frank Schultze via Flickr