EU Parliament agrees to back a stronger 30% renewable energy by 2030 target

Clare Saxon Ghauri
Reading time: 3 minutes
5 February 2014

LONDON: Today the EU Parliament called for binding targets on energy efficiency and carbon emission reductions and a tougher binding renewable energy target, under the EU’s 2030 climate policy.

MEPs called on the EU Commission and countries for a binding 40% cut in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels, a 40% target for energy efficiency, and a 30% renewable energy consumption target by 2030, compared to the 27% that was proposed by EU policymakers on January 22.

The MEPs said the targets should be implemented through national targets and consider each country's situation.

Co-rapporteur for the environment committee, Anne Delvaux, said in a statement: "The price of energy seriously affects companies, industry and, more specifically, our citizens. If we want to reduce our energy imports we have to produce more in Europe, by making better and more efficient use of our resources. If we have a broad energy mix with greater energy efficiency, this is the best option to reduce to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to encourage new technologies and innovation, create jobs, and change our economies into greener economies. This is why we need three binding objectives.”

Research by the European Commission has shown that increased renewables use has led to annual savings of €10 billion in avoided imported fuel costs, highlighting how critical renewables are to maintaining the competitiveness of Europe's industry. 

The Commission tabled proposals last month for a binding target of 27% of the EU's energy consumption to come from renewables by 2030, which was met with criticism by NGOs and the clean tech sector for lack of ambition.

Commenting on the proposed targets, Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group said they provide a minimum floor which low carbon leaders must build upon. He 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.”

Although the targets represent the first offering on post-2020 climate action by any major economy, they are unlikely to be formally adopted for another year. However, they have set a benchmark for the ongoing UN climate negotiations as well as efforts by other major emitters.

By Clare Saxon

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