Promising draft EU Parliament report brings Energy Union governance closer to Paris Agreement

Posted on 18 May 2017    

People march for the climate in New York, ahead of the Paris Agreement on climate changeClimate change is a lasting change in weather patterns over long periods of time. It can be a natural phenomena and and has occurred on Earth even before people inhabited it. Quite different is a current situation that is also referred to as climate change, anthropogenic climate change, or ... in 2015.

© WWF Intl. / Greg Marinovich / The Stand

Commenting on the draft European Parliament report on Energy Union GovernanceAlex Mason, Senior Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office said:

It’s good to see that MEPs are taking the Paris Agreement seriously, and trying to give the wings of ambition and the teeth of binding targetsTarget period: For multi-year goals, a period of several consecutive years over which the mitigation goal is to be achieved. The last years of the goal period. Target year: For single-year goals, the year by which the goal is to be met. The last year of the goal period. Target year emissions: ... to the Commission’s rather lacklustre governance proposal.

The rapporteurs have also had the foresight to point out that it makes no sense for Member States to produce their short term 2030 plans before their long term strategies.

But if the EU is to live up to its Paris commitments we should be aiming to reach net-zero emissionsEmissions of greenhouse gases, greenhouse gas precursors, and aerosols associated with human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, land-use changes, livestock, fertilisation, etc. (IPCC) well before 2050, so further work is needed.

More information:

Green MEPs Claude Turmes and Michèle Rivasi, rapporteurs for the ITRE and ENVI committees respectively, have just made public their joint report on the European Commission’s proposed Energy Union Governance Regulation.

The Commission’s proposed Regulation, released late last year, brings together in one place a wide range of existing planning and reportingCorporate inventory program. A program to produce annual corporate inventories that are keeping with the principles, standards, and guidance of the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard. This includes all institutional, managerial, and technical arrangements made for the collection of data, ... rules (for example on GHG emissionsGreenhouse gas emissions cause dangerous anthropogenic climate change. Emissions include CO2, fluoridated gases, methane which are emitted by human activity such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, and water vapour., renewable energyRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. and energy efficiencyUsing less energy/electricity to perform the same function. Programs designed to use electricity more efficiently - doing the same with less.) and should help Member States take a consistent, joined-up approach to energy and climate change. The Commission’s proposal requires Member States to produce detailed plans for 2030 and a longer term strategy to 2070, and also includes mechanisms to ensure that EU 2030 targets on renewable energy and energy efficiencyUsing less energy/electricity to perform the same function. Programs designed to use electricity more efficiently - doing the same with less. are collectively met.

The main problem with the Commission’s governance proposal is that it takes little account of the Paris Agreement – and instead sticks rigidly to the now obsolete European Council conclusions from 2014. Turmes and Rivasi have made a bold attempt to correct this, by adding some of the missing pieces and trying to create an energy and climate governance regime fit for the challenges ahead.

In particular they have included:

  • A target to achieve a 100% renewable and highly energy efficient economy, also by 2050 the latest
  • A 45% renewable energy target for 2030 (instead of the Commission’s proposed 27%)
  • A 40% energy efficiency target for 2030 (instead of the Commission’s proposed 30%)
  • National binding targets for renewablesRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. and energy efficiency for 2030
  • Reinforced provisions on Member State long term strategies, and a requirement that they focus on 2050 and be produced in parallel with the shorter term 2030 plans rather than after them. Stronger rules on public and stakeholder engagement.

It is now over to the MEPs to table amendments to strengthen this report even further – for example on including further detailed guidance on what Member States need to cover in their long-term strategies. The report will then be discussed in Committee on 20-21 June and there will be a Committee vote in October.

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