EU Climate and Energy package is a major step forward, but weak on renewables and energy efficiencyEliot Whittington
The European Council has just agreed a new climate and energy deal that sets a binding domestic Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) target of “at least” 40% but which failed to agree ambitious targets for the share of energy from renewable sources and for energy efficiency.
The We Mean Business coalition, led by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), had called for strong ambition in the 2030 package ahead of the Council meeting this week.
Philippe Joubert, Chair of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said:
“In agreeing this framework for emissions reductions, European Leaders have signalled to the rest of the world a clear ambition to achieve a robust international climate agreement in 2015. A united Europe committed to deliver at least 40% of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can boost the momentum toward an agreement in international climate negotiations in Paris, speaking louder at the table and capitalising on its leadership.”
“However, with weak targets for renewables and energy efficiency and a low carbon price the EU must act urgently to unlock investment and spur the innovation needed to deliver its ambitions. In this respect we welcome the agreement to reform the EU emissions trading system and address the benefits of carbon capture and storage technology. ”
To deliver on the greenhouse gas emissions target the EU will now also need to put in place clear governance rules, legislation and standards to enhance the uptake of low carbon technologies and energy efficiency, especially in transport and buildings.
“40% is still not enough to put the EU on a path to net zero emissions by mid-century and kick start the transformational change we need”, said Mark Kenber, CEO The Climate Group in The Climate Group’s comment today. “40% must be seen as the floor which opens the door to increased ambition”.
“The business community was hoping for consistency from policymakers. They don’t have that yet. European leaders must now seize the opportunity to strengthen their ambitions and set the EU on a clear path to an innovative, prosperous, job-creating, low carbon future.”
Ahead of the Council meeting, a number of business coalitions, including major European corporate leaders, had urged the EU policy makers to give them planning security that is good for business:
- On 20th October, 2014, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group issued a letter to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, calling for the EU to set a target of at least 40% GHG emissions reductions (50% with comparable international action), and at least 30% binding European targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2030.
- On 14th October, 2014, 11 companies including IKEA, Unilever and Philips issued a joint declaration calling for even more ambitious targets of GHG emissions reductions well beyond the proposed 40% as well as binding targets of at least 40% for renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2030.
- On 6th October, 2014, an open letter of 57 companies, funds and associations asked European Heads of State to agree to robust climate change and energy policy, including structural reform to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
CDP’s most recent briefing paper Investment and Growth from Climate Action likewise illustrates that 92% of Euro 300 companies reporting with CDP see climate regulation as a business opportunity and 98% are actively investing in climate action.
Led by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group’s, We Mean Business will continue to build the business voices pushing policy makers to drive robust policy frameworks. Further information and how to get involved can be found here.