European Commission starts consultation on 2030 energy and climate package

Clare Saxon Ghauri
Reading time: 3 minutes
27 March 2013

BRUSSELS: Today the European Commission moved towards developing a 2030 framework for EU climate change and energy policies by adopting a Green Paper which aims to open up a public consultation on the EU's 2030 targets.

The EU is widely expected to easily hit its 20% greenhouse gas emissions cut by 2020 and the Commission has estimated that the EU is on track for a 27% cut by 2030 under its current policies.

The aim of the Green Paper is to compile opinions on the EU objectives for 2030 from member states, the European Parliament, industry groups and non-governmental organizations.

In a EU statement Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, said: ''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 in Europe we 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.''

The Green Paper asks:

  • 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 better contribute to EU competitiveness?
  • How can Member States' different capacities to act be taken into account?

The consultation will run until 2 July. On the basis of the views that are shared, the Commission aims to table the EU's 2030 framework for climate and energy policies by the end of 2013.

Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy said in the EU press statement: "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."

The Commission also published a Consultative Communication on the future of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Europe, aiming to open debate on the development of CCS. It also adopted the renewable energy (RES) progress report, which analyzes the EU Members’ 2020 targets. 

Luc Bas, Director of European Programmes and International States and Regions, The Climate Group, said: “The Green Paper’s longer-term thinking on a 2030 framework is key for investor confidence and to put Europe on track for the 2050 low carbon society. But it should not distract from the need still to raise ambition for 2020 right now.

"Europe is well on it’s way to reach the binding 20% targets on GHG-emissions and renewables under current policies, but could do more to secure its competitiveness in the global green economy race. Extra efforts are also needed on achieving the non-binding 20% energy savings target. Both in the interest of solving the economic and climate crisis, Europe needs to be more ambitious now and not tomorrow. It will spur innovation when we need it, and be a positive contribution towards a global climate deal.”

Read the Green Paper
Read more about the Consultative Communication on the future of Carbon Capture and Storage in Europe
Read the EU RES progess report

By Clare Saxon

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