European parliament want binding 2030 goals for CO2 emissions, renewables and energy efficiency
A divided European parliament called on Wednesday for a 40% cut in CO2 emissions, a 30% target for renewable energy and a 40% target for energy efficiency by 2030, under the EU’s new long-term climate-change policy. These targets should be binding, they say. The parliament also criticise the European Commission’s recent proposals as shortsighted and unambitious.
Parliament calls on the Commission and EU countries, in its resolution adopted on Wednesday by 341 votes to 263, with 26 abstentions, to set a 2030 EU target to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels. It also wants an energy efficiency target of 40%, in line with research on the cost-effective potential, and a commitment to producing at least 30% of total final energy consumption from renewable energy sources.
These targets should be binding, MEPs say, and implemented through individual national targets, taking account of each member state’s situation and potential.
“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,” said the co-rapporteur for the environment committee, Anne Delvaux (Christian democrate, BE).
“If we have a broad energy mix with greater energy efficiency, this is the best option 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,” she added.
“It is really important that we do not renationalize the european goals”, she told
“This result is not satisfactory. We are promising ourselves, Europeans and European industry, that this new climate policy would be realistic, flexible and cost- efficient. This are very good assumptions. However, if we double the emission reduction target after 2020, it is not realistic. It is a road to reduce the competitiveness of European industry,” said Konrad Szymański (conservative from Poland), co-rapporteur from the industry committee, who withdrew his name from the report that was adopted.
“Adopting these objectives before the 2015 Paris talks is a mistake. We should not show all our cards today before our partners say what they mean. Binding objectives on renewables and energy efficiency is not a flexible arrangement. We know well that member states and individual sectors have different capacities,” he added.
“Renewables are unreliable and un predictable we have to rely on traditional fossil fuels.
Concern over the weakness of new proposals on climate
The non-binding resolution follows up the Commission’s March green paper which triggered a debate on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies after the current policy framework runs out in 2020. The Commission tabled proposals on 22 January setting less ambitious targets, which were met with scepticism from MEPs, who express their deep concern about some of the proposals. For the parliament the Commission communication is short-sighted and unambitious on a number of levels, specifically as regards the lack of national targets for renewable energy and of any meaningful new action to incentivise energy efficiency, they say.
The arguments in the debate was divided in two main groups
The majority argued for continuation and clear targets. It was obvious they said that the 2020 targets have put Europe in a lead of the development. If we stop now this will be a signal to the world that no longer Europe will be in the lead. The second argument was that it is important to unite Europe to follow commission’s suggestion to disharmonize and aloud the member states to put up individual goals will not go towards a common market instead we go back to 28 individual markets the said. The third argument was that the European economy would be better the more of the fossil fuels import that is replaced by fuels mostly produced inside Europe.
The commission told they put up strong goals but it was important to focus on climate first because here there is a unity and it is important that Europe talk with one voice. Efficiency the present commissioners Hedegard and Oertinger told would according to schedule be dealt with during the year and for renewables it is better to let the member states to set up there own goals to reach most efficiency. Also they used the economy argument but came to another solution. Energy prices in Europe are much higher than in USA they said and this jeopardises the European industry.
Connie Hedegaard, Danish Commissioner for environment told it was very urgent to fix the ETS system, the Emission Trading System that more or less collapsed. She also emphasised that it is urgent to act quick, the industry is waiting.
Maria Ulvskog from Sweden and the Social democrats told that Europe needs clear goals and predictable targets and the commission’s proposal with flexible individual targets des not full fill that criteria.
Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, liberals, the Netherlands told that realistic targets are important, there are enormous costs of importing fossil fuels. You should net believe in fables like shale gas it is not an alternative for Europe
We need binding targets, we need clarity and security and do not need 28 different goals and we are talking about binding targets.
Fiona Hall a UK liberal noted that Nuclear has been around for 70 years and has become expensive, the only technology around that becomes more expensive for every year. The normal development is the other way around. She also stated: “Binding targets works.” and added
Then there where other voices twisting those arguments.
The main opposition was led from Poland a country that don’t want any restrictions for their coal industry and support for for shale gas development. The large countries Germany, UK, Italy and Spain was divided. Most positive where Portugal and Sweden with 100% of their MEPs voting in in favour.
A short debate between an UK MP member and a Dutch member was illustrative. The UK member against the majority argued for market solutions but was met by the Dutch representative with the question why they wanted to give the Nuclear industry a 35 year long feed in tariff contract – totally the opposite to the free market.