The European Parliament has adopted what Renewable Energy World describes as “a sweeping set of measures that will ensure the growth of renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and advanced biofuels” by 2030.
But Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) may still have some ground to cover to get some of their continent’s key emitters onboard.
- Concise headlines. Original content. Timely news and views from a select group of opinion leaders. Special extras.
- Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
- The Weekender: The climate news you need.
The vote puts MEPs in a position to “negotiate binding targets with EU ministers to boost the share of renewables in the total energy mix to 35% and boost energy efficiency by 35% by 2030,” REWorld writes, citing an EU news release. “The previous target, which just focused on renewable electricity, was 20% by 2020.” The EU also adopted a 12% renewables target for transportation by the end of the next decade.
“To meet these new targets, EU member states must now set their own national targets, which the EU government will monitor to ensure that they are in line with the new law,” writes Chief Editor Jennifer Runyon. “Member states will set their own national targets and are allowed to deviate by a maximum of 10% under certain conditions.”
The measure, which passed by a 492-88 margin with 107 abstentions, will also allow consumers to generate their own electricity without incurring extra charges, fees, or taxes. “MEPs are asking member states to assess existing barriers to consuming energy produced on the consumer’s own premises, to promote such consumption, and to ensure that consumers, particularly households, can join renewable energy communities without being subject to unjustified conditions or procedures,” Runyon notes.
“This is the first time European legislation has developed, in particular, an EU 35% renewable energy target and a 35% energy efficiency target for 2030, a methane strategy, and obligations to fight against energy poverty,” said Europe Écologie/Green MEP Michèle Rivasi of France, who declared the decision “historic, compliant, and consistent” with the EU’s climate commitments.
“Increased ambition on renewables, energy efficiency, and a strong governance system based on a carbon budget approach will contribute to the achievement of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and to comply with the Paris agreement,” agreed Green MEP Claude Turmes of Luxembourg. He said the parliamentary vote gave MEPs “a united front when entering into negotiations with the Council” and “contributed to restoring the EU’s credibility on climate.”
But earlier in the week, Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche said he couldn’t be sure his company will meet the EU vehicle emissions target of 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.
“I can’t guarantee we will be compliant,” he told the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “Our objective is to be compliant,” but “it’s not a pure economic question,” he added. “There might be some reputational aspect in there, as well.”
In a release issued Wednesday, Friends of the Earth charges the 2030 targets fall short of what’s needed to address climate change.
In adopting the binding, 35% energy efficiency target, FOEE states, MEPs set aside a 40% goal that had already been adopted at the committee level in 2017. They also opted to negotiate with member states rather than setting binding national targets.
“The EU Parliament has been a vocal supporter of energy efficiency and its benefits for years, and has previously backed a 40% target four times,” said FOEE energy efficiency campaigner Clémence Hutin. But “when it came to the crunch, MEPs folded.”
The vote shows that “too many MEPs are still clinging to a wasteful energy model that is costing us the planet, and keeping up to one in four Europeans in energy poverty,” she added.
“This target only looks ambitious in the light of the severe inadequacy of the targets proposed by the European Commission and by Member States,” added renewables campaigner Molly Walsh. “Creating a framework that will allow communities and citizens to take ownership of the energy system and benefit from the energy transition is the one thing that could be a truly positive signal from Brussels.”