European Commission Moves Forward on Climate and Energy Towards 2030

The European Commission has taken the first step towards developing a 2030 framework for EU climate change and energy policies. It has adopted a Green Paper which launches a public consultation on the content of the 2030 framework. The Commission has also published a Consultative Communication on the future of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Europe, aimed at initiating a debate on the options available to ensure its timely development. Finally, the Commission has adopted a report assessing Member States’ progress towards their 2020 renewable energy targets and reports on the sustainability of biofuels and bioliquids consumed in the EU.

Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy, comments: “We need to define our climate and energy policy framework for 2030 as soon as possible to ensure proper investment that will give us sustainable growth, affordable competitive energy prices and greater energy security. The new framework must take into account the consequences of the economic crisis, but it must also be ambitious enough to meet the necessary long-term goal of cutting emissions 80-95% by 2050.”

Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, says: “Europe’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels is growing every year. That means more expensive and unaffordable energy bills for Europeans. This is not very wise. It’s obviously not wise for the climate, but it’s also not wise for our economy and our competiveness. That is why we have decided that inEuropewe want a low-carbon society for 2050. We have targets for 2020, but for most investors 2020 is around the corner. It’s time to define the targets for 2030. The sooner we do that, the more certainty we get to our companies and our investors. And the more ambitious these targets are, the better for the climate.’”

Green Paper on 2030 Policy Framework

The Green Paper raises a set of questions, including:

* What type, nature and level of climate and energy targets should be set for 2030?

* How can coherence between different policy instruments be attained?

* How can the energy system best contribute to EU competitiveness?

* How can Member States’ different capacities to act be taken into account?

The consultation runs until 2 July. On the basis of the views expressed by Member States, EU institutions and stakeholders, the Commission intends to table the EU’s 2030 framework for climate and energy policies by the end of this year.

Providing clarity on this will give certainty to investors and stimulate innovation and demand for low-carbon technologies, thus supporting progress towards building a more competitive, sustainable and more energy-secure European economy. The 2030 framework will build on the experience and lessons learnt from the 2020 framework and will identify where improvements can be made. As we do that, we take into account changes since 2020, such as the changes in the energy system and the economy, as well as international developments.

Carbon Capture and Storage

The Consultative Communication identifies the barriers that have prevented CCS from developing at the pace foreseen in 2007. For instance with EU emissions trading system prices well below original expectations, there is no rationale for economic operators to invest in CCS.

The Communication discusses options to further promote the timely demonstration and early deployment of CCS, and invites contributions on the role of CCS inEurope. The responses to the consultation will feed into the Commission’s work on the 2030 policy framework.

Renewable Energy

The renewable energy (RES) progress report shows that the current policy framework of legally binding renewable energy targets has resulted in strong growth of the renewable energy sector until 2010, with an EU RES share of 12.7%. For progress to continue and to meet the targets in 2020, more efforts will be needed. Efforts must be especially made in creating certainty for investors, reducing the administrative burden and increasing clarity in the planning.

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