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EU 2030 package sets stage for Paris but underdelivers for consumers and climate security

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European leaders last night agreed on the headline objectives for the EU's climate and energy framework for the 2020s.

In response to the decisions reached by the European Council, E3G’s CEO Nick Mabey said,

“Europe’s leaders agreed a stronger than expected package on energy and climate change. This puts pressure on the US and China to put forward early and ambitious targets for the Paris negotiations. After months of dithering Europe is finally back in the global climate game.”

Nick Mabey continued,

“Unfortunately concessions to special interests and eurosceptics mean that the package failed to do everything possible to lower energy bills for hard pressed consumers or reduce gas imports from Russia. Many European leaders still seem to fear interference from Brussels more than Putin.”

EU leaders have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by “at least” 40% by 2030. Liz Gallagher, E3G’s climate diplomacy programme leader said,

“ 'At least' indicates that Merkel, Hollande and Cameron recognise the economic growth opportunities offered by increased climate ambition. This should be recognised by other countries, like China and the US as they consider their own national targets ahead of the Paris COP in 2015.”

However EU leaders sent a weak message to their low-carbon and resource-efficient industries, and the deal agreed last night leaves the door open for further support to coal-fired generation.

Despite the European Commission recommending that the EU adopt a 30% energy saving goal for 2030, EU leaders failed to guarantee the delivery of €2.5 trillion in savings to consumers from more efficient energy use and energy grids.

Ingrid Holmes, E3G Associate Director, said,

“A 27% objective represents a go-slow on efficiency and a strong signal for energy efficiency businesses to start to divest from Europe. However the door is still open to increase ambition through the European Parliament. With 56m Europeans unable to afford to keep their home warm and continued Russian aggression to the East, the arguments for an all-out push on efficiency have never been stronger.”

Manon Dufour, head of office at E3G Brussels, added:

“There is a lot of work to do to make sure this package really benefits ordinary people and limits the handouts given to special interests. Both the new European Commission and European Parliament must take all the opportunities they can to strengthen the weakest elements of the package and prioritise investment in transforming the European economy.”

After the agreement of a 15% interconnection target for 2030, Jonathan Gaventa, E3G Associate Director said,

“Interconnection is critical for improving the competitiveness of European markets, increasing energy security and enabling Europe’s climate and renewables targets to be met in the most cost effective manner. It needs both clear political direction and effective policies to make it happen.The 15% interconnection target is an important step towards turning the concept of a European internal energy market into a reality.”

Contacts:

Nick Mabey, CEO, +44 (0) 7949 768 771, nick.mabey@e3g.org

Manon Dufour, Head of Brussels office, +32 (0)4 77 76 78 01, manon.dufour@e3g.org

Louisa Casson, UK-EU Coordination, +44 (0) 7825 894 188, louisa.casson@e3g.org

For expert comment:

On energy efficiency: Ingrid Holmes, Associate Director, +44 (0)7825 829592, ingrid.holmes@e3g.org

On interconnection: Jonathan Gaventa, Associate Director, +44 (0) 7825 409469, jonathan.gaventa@e3g.org

On climate diplomacy: Liz Gallagher, Programme Leader, + 44 (0)7920 461 838, liz.gallagher@e3g.org

Notes:

1. European Council Conclusions on 2030 climate and energy policy framework

2. 56m Europeans in fuel poverty based on Eurostat 2012 data

3. E3G Making Sense of the Numbers: Energy Efficiency

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