EU calls for 40% GHG cut, 27% renewable energy by 2030: Mark Kenber says goal must be seen as "floor for ambition"

Clare Saxon Ghauri
Reading time: 3 minutes
22 January 2014

LONDON: The European Union today presented its new climate and energy goals for 2030, including a proposal for a 40% emissions reduction and a binding target for a 27% share of renewable energy

The EU has announced a new target reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40% below 1990 levels, as well as a binding target for 27% of the EU's energy consumption to come from renewables by 2030, as part of the EU's 2030 framework.

The new framework also calls for a new governance system, and states that greater energy efficiency efforts will be considered in a review of the Energy Efficiency Directive later in the year. 

The framework builds on the EU's existing targets for 2020 and the Commission's 2050 roadmaps for energy, and reflects its goal of cutting emissions 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050.

It is accompanied by a legislative proposal for a market stability reserve for the EU emissions trading system starting 2021, which would make the carbon trading system more resilient to 'major shocks' and address the mounting surplus of emission allowances. 

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: "Climate action is central for the future of our planet, while a truly European energy policy is key for our competitiveness. Today's package proves that tackling the two issues simultaneously is not contradictory, but mutually reinforcing. It is in the EU's interest to build a job-rich economy that is less dependent on imported energy through increased efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy. An ambitious 40% greenhouse reduction target for 2030 is the most cost-effective milestone in our path towards a low-carbon economy. And the renewables target of at least 27% is an important signal: to give stability to investors, boost green jobs and support our security of supply."

Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, said: In spite of all those arguing that nothing ambitious would come out of the Commission today, we did it. A 40% emissions reduction is the most cost-effective target for the EU and it takes account of our global responsibility. And of course Europe must continue its strong focus on renewables. That is why it matters that the Commission is proposing today a binding EU-level target. The details of the framework will now have to be agreed, but the direction for Europe has been set. If all other regions were equally ambitious about tackling climate change, the world would be in significantly better shape.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, said: "The Commission’s proposed new 40% emission reduction target must be seen as a floor for ambition, not a ceiling. It is less than the ambitious but achievable 50% cut that many consider necessary for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. EU ministers should take the opportunity when they meet in March to increase the target. Even if an increase was conditional upon a strong 2015 global deal, it would send an important signal of intent to other governments as well as business and investors.

“The binding 27% renewable energy target is a welcomed result, given the uncertainty around it in recent weeks. Having a binding goal will help underpin investment in clean energy – something which an emission only target would not have done. However, governments and businesses must also see this figure not as a maximum to be reached but as a minimum to be surpassed.

“The commitment to improve energy efficiency efforts should also compel Member States to step up to the plate and seize the tremendous, no-regrets opportunities for businesses and households of energy efficiency. The failure to date to fully unlock the enormous potential of energy efficiency simply hobbles Europe’s economy.

“Overall, the 2030 framework can act as a real driver for clean economic growth. Ministers must recognize this opportunity when they meet in March, and build on the Commission’s plan, especially in the interests of an ambitious and effective global deal in 2015.”

The European Council is expected to consider the framework at its spring meeting, on March 20-21.

By Clare Saxon

Read the EU's energy and climate framework for 2030

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