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EU’s ideas for energy looking tired

Nov 13, 2008 - World Wildlife Federation

Energy efficiency is the most immediate and cost-effective solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensure resilience to an economic crisis and improve security of energy supply.
© WWF-Canon / Michel Gunther

Brussels, Belgium: A coherent plan to reduce energy consumption was conspicuous by its absence from the European Union’s latest attempt to deal with the energy and climate crisis.

The European Commission today released an “Energy security and solidarity action plan”, which addresses some of the gaps in the present EU climate and energy policy.

But there were major contradictions among suggested policies, a lack of ambition and a mixture of actions with little relevance for the environmental and economic objectives outlined in the proposals.

Energy efficiency is the most immediate and cost-effective solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensure resilience to an economic crisis and improve security of energy supply in Europe. Despite this it remains absent from the European Union energy policy.

“Proposed measures fail in ambition as they do not include a mandatory energy saving target of 20 per cent by 2020 for the European Union,” said Mariangiola Fabbri, Energy Policy Officer at WWF-EPO.

“This is key to reduce consumers’ energy bill, boost innovation, facilitate the achievement of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and support a strong EU performance at international climate negotiations.”

As Europe’s buildings account for 40 per cent of EU final energy use, the improvement of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive should be a priority and an opportunity not to be missed to strengthen the EU’s climate and energy goals.

“EU countries should have been obliged to have stricter standards for both existing and new buildings by 2015,” said Fabbri. “We need to shift buildings from being energy wasters to climate savers.”

On a more positive note the EU intends to embark on the “Renewable energy supergrid”, an innovative electricity highway to connect solar power from southern Europe and north Africa, offshore wind power produced in the Atlantic and other renewable energy sources from the mainland. However, a continuous focus on fossil fuels might undermine this project.

“The renewable energy supergrid must become a priority as it has the potential to provide renewable electricity to all European citizens and make the European energy sector carbon-free in the decades to come,” said Dr Stephan Singer, WWF’s Global Energy Policy Director.

“It is disappointing, though, to see new investments for infrastructures that keep Europe dependent on oil, gas and other conventional fuels which counteract the benefit of renewable energy.”

WWF is urging the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers to strengthen the laws and come to an agreement before the EU elections in June 2009.

Updated: 2016/06/30

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