EU governments turn backs on energy efficiency

26 June 2017

Friends of the Earth Europe has criticised EU governments for adopting weak energy efficiency targets today. The decision demonstrates a lack of commitment to the Paris climate change Agreement, according to the group.

EU Ministers have agreed to the European Commission's proposed target of 30% energy efficiency by 2030, when climate action requires at least 40%.

Clémence Hutin, climate justice and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "These negotiations should have been about ramping up the EU's climate efforts for 2030, instead we are risking a decade of inaction. EU governments have expressed deep regret at Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, yet they are turning their backs on the main tool for cutting emissions; energy efficiency."

Article 7, covering annual savings obligations schemes, has been weakened to the point of meaninglessness. Serious climate action should not allow for loopholes, yet so-called 'flexibility' has become an excuse for inaction on the part of governments. A review clause will enable policy-makers to reduce efforts further.

Energy efficiency is the most powerful way to cut down greenhouse gas emissions: it could make up to two-thirds of cuts according to the IEA. Analyses shows increased ambition would save billions of Euros in public spending, create local green jobs, lift millions out of energy poverty, and would replace fossil fuel infrastructure.

Negotiations with the European Parliament are set to open in the Autumn.

Clémence Hutin continued, "Wiping out progress on energy efficiency would have disastrous consequences for people and the planet. When we think of all the benefits of these policies, this line of action is all the more baffling. The Council has failed EU citizens today."