MEPs vote in favour of binding 2030 climate targets

Binding EU targets on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency have been supported by the European Parliament's Environment and ITRE committees today.

MEPs have voted for a 40% reduction in energy use, a 30% renewables target and a 40% reduction in GHG by 2030. The targets received 66 votes in favour, 50 against and four abstentions.

The recommendations come ahead of the White paper on the 2030 climate and energy package, to be published on January 22.

European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) president, Monica Frassoni, said: “Today’s vote is a positive, timely and strong signal to the European Commission, ahead of the presentation of the White Paper on the EU energy and climate framework for 2030.

“The EU has a 41% cost-effective end-use energy savings potential for 2030 that can be achieved only with an EU binding target. A GHG target only approach will not deliver it: a specific EU binding target for energy savings would allow businesses across a broad range of sectors to create employment and growth in the EU”.

Environmental organisation WWF also welcomed the MEPs’ recommendations, but argued that a 40% greenhouse gas reduction and a 30% renewable energy target were not ambitious enough.

WWF European Policy Office head of climate and energy, Jason Anderson, said: “The European Parliament’s vote reflects the evidence that the benefits of cutting CO2 from the EU’s energy system are best unlocked by binding targets. Without binding targets there can be no confidence from investors.

“Now it is up to the European Commission and the EU Member States to set the right level of ambition that is needed to decarbonise Europe and fight climate change.”

Today’s vote will soften the blow from recent reports suggesting that the EU could miss its 2050 climate change targets.

The publication of the European Commission’s EU Energy, Transport and GHG Emissions Trends to 2050 report over the Christmas period shows that on the basis of current policies the EU will fail to meet its 2050 commitment of 80-95% GHG reductions.

The European Commission’s latest reference scenario, based on current trends and adopted policies, shows that EU GHG emissions would fall by 24% in 2020, but by just 44% in 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), with energy import dependency increasing during the period to almost 57%.

Following the publication of the European Commission’s white paper on 22 January and the European Parliament plenary vote in February, EU Heads of State will meet in March to agree on a mandate to the Commission to draft legislation on 2030 climate and energy policy.

Leigh Stringer

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