Today, Members of the European Parliament have just voted on the final Energy Package for more renewable energy, greater energy efficiency and a legally binding roadmap to the Paris climate targets. The vote follows on from negotiations between the European Commission and Council. The Energy Package comprises two directives and one regulation laws, which cover renewables, energy efficiency and governance.
The Energy Efficiency Directive is a step in the right direction, with a target of 32.5% energy efficiency improvement by 2030. The Greens/EFA, despite the opposition of EU governments, have pushed through a review in 2023 of whether we will need a higher target to reach the Paris climate target of 1.5c of maximum global warming. The European Commission expects 840,000 new jobs in the construction sector, in the development and production of energy-saving household appliances and in science and research. The Greens/EFA have also succeeded in ensuring that the binding target of 0.8% annual energy savings for end consumers across the EU creates investment security for new technologies and safeguards sustainable jobs.
Benedek Jávor, Greens/EFA rapporteur on the Energy Efficiency Regulation, comments:
"Thanks to the efforts of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament we can now start to envisage how our greener future will look, with 32% more renewables and 32.5% greater energy efficiency by 2030. Energy efficiency means greater climate protection and better home insulation and energy-saving appliances, which at the end of the day means more money in peoples' pockets and millions of EU citizens lifted from energy poverty. A much greater use of renewable energy sources by 2030 is a good start to the green energy transition and will promote innovation and create the jobs of the future."
The Renewable Energy Directive stipulates that renewable energies will account for 32% of the European Union's energy budget from 2030. For the first time, the EU has taken a step in the direction of phasing out specific bio-fuels which contribute to deforestation through EU legislation.
Bas Eickhout, Green/EFA rapporteur the bio-energy part of the Renewable Energy Directive, comments:
"We need urgent action to halt the deforestation and habitat destruction linked with the production of food-based biofuels. Luckily we succeeded in ensuring that there is no longer a direct European stimulus driving the use of these type of fuels. This legislation also makes sure that the use of palm oil has to be phased out, it is very important that the European Commission now puts the legislative text into action. Of course it can always be more ambitious, but all in all REDII provides a strong signal to the biofuel-industry: those biofuels that are unsustainable and do not lead to a clear climate benefit have no future in the EU."
The timetable for the implementation of the Paris climate targets by 2030 is provided by the Energy Governance Regulation with legally binding requirements for the Energy Union. The Greens/EFA group have succeeded in getting a commitment for a CO2-free economy by 2050. The European Commission must now present a long-term strategy by 1 April 2019 and all EU countries will be obliged to submit national energy and climate plans.
Jakop Dalunde, Greens/EFA rapporteur on the Energy Governance Regulation, comments:
"We cannot avoid catastrophic climate change if we rely on warm words alone. We must start thinking of our emissions as a 'carbon budget' of which we only have a little left if we are to avoid disaster. The Energy Governance regulation enshrines European targets into law and sets 2050 as the deadline for a zero-carbon economy. This should serve as the basis for a European Climate Law which would see the Paris Agreement become EU law and enable all European countries to work towards a cleaner, greener future."