MEPs send mixed messages for critical decade of climate action

28 November 2017

Strong energy savings measures undone by lack of national targets for renewables

Today MEPs on the Industry committee of the European Parliament backed a strong energy savings target for 2030, but at the same time rejected nationally binding renewable energy targets, resulting in an inadequate climate package for the next critical decade, says Friends of the Earth Europe. [1]

The committee voted on two key files of the European Commission's 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package of climate measures up to 2030. The time up to 2030 is the only chance to take sufficient action to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The committee backed a 40% energy efficiency target by 2030 – the highest target on the table. The vote substantially strengthens the proposals of the European Council and European Commission.

Clémence Hutin, climate justice and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said, "Today has shown cross-party recognition of the social and environmental benefits of energy savings, for people and the climate. The vote has closed loopholes in the annual savings target, which delivers the direct benefits of efficiency to people, a crucial step to strengthen the law."

On renewables, MEPs voted for measures to support community-controlled energy. But their support for a target of 35% renewable energy by 2030 without nationally binding targets falls far short of what is needed to tackle climate change. MEPs voted for a loophole which would allow countries to fall 10% short of the target – in effect lowering it to 31.5% by 2030.

Molly Walsh, renewable energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "MEPs have backed a renewables target that is both weak and toothless. By letting Member States wriggle out of doing their fair share, MEPs have seriously failed in their duty to hold them to account."

EU countries have just nine more years of burning fossil fuels at the current rate to avoid a global temperature rise of 2°C. [2]

Molly Walsh continued: "Time is running out for climate action – if we want to keep the planet safe and habitable, we need Europe to be fossil-free by 2030. Planning for only a third of the EU's energy to be renewable by 2030 would sabotage attempts to keep warming below 2°C, never mind the 1.5°C agreed in Paris."

The European Parliament will determine its final position on energy efficiency and renewables targets at a plenary vote in early 2018.