The European Commission today presented its proposals for EU climate and energy policy to 2030. The proposals are intended to frame a decision by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels in March on the direction of EU energy policy to 2030. The Greens hit out at the lack of ambition in the proposals. Commenting on the proposals, Green climate change spokesperson Bas Eickhout said:
"What the Commission is proposing today would bring EU policies on climate change and renewable energy to a virtual standstill. With president Barroso at the wheel, this would amount to the jackknifing of existing EU climate policy and the all-clear for the fossil fuel juggernaut. We will push to ensure a majority of EU governments and the European Parliament rejects this Conservative volte-face.
"The 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target included in the proposals displays a shameful scale-back of ambition. While the headline figure of 40% is already far below what is necessary both to tackle climate change and spur the green economy, it would actually amount to a mere 33% reduction in reality, due to the failure to retire excess emissions allowances in the EU's emissions trading scheme. This is essentially business-as-usual and a far cry from the halcyon days of the EU's self-heralded climate change leadership."
Green energy spokesperson Claude Turmes added:
"The new laissez-faire approach to renewable energy being proposed by the Commission is a sop to those countries like the UK and Poland that want to pursue risky or dirty energy from nuclear, coal and shale gas. The overall 'headline target' for 2030 is not just devoid of ambition, it is also little more than an aspirational goal, with no binding provisions on EU member states. This is a major step back from the 2020 policy framework, which included an ambitious and binding target. This craven move by a desperate lame duck Commission president to do the bidding of David Cameron will totally undermine investor certainty in this sector in which Europe is a global leader, hitting jobs and the economy. Combined with the failure to propose a binding energy savings target, it would also be a blow to our energy security.
"All of this would fly in the face of the Commission's own impact assessment, which highlights the clear economic and employment benefits of pushing for ambitious binding targets for greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy share and energy savings. 10 EU governments have already come out in support of continuing with a three target approach and we will be strongly making the case for EU leaders to show real ambition at their crucial EU summit in March. Ahead of this, the European Parliament will also vote on its position in February and we will be pushing to ensure MEPs support 3 binding and ambitious targets."