The 2030 policy framework for climate and energy was proposed by the European Commission in January and aims to make the European Union’s economy and energy system more competitive, secure and sustainable. Opinion is divided over whether this has occurred. Many green commentators suggest it lacks ambition and is the feeble efforts of a burnt out administration. Others feel that it puts too much pressure on the EU where energy prices are 3 to 4 times higher than the US for example. The fear is that emissions will be cut but due to deindustrialisation.
While the EU is currently making good progress towards meeting its climate and energy targets for 2020, an integrated policy framework for the period up to 2030 is needed to ensure regulatory certainty for investors and a coordinated approach among Member States.
A centre piece of the framework is the target to reduce EU domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below the 1990 level by 2030. This target is intended to keep the EU on track towards meeting its objective of cutting emissions by at least 80% by 2050. By setting its level of climate ambition for 2030, the EU will also be able to engage actively in the negotiations on a new international climate agreement that should take effect in 2020.
To achieve the overall 40% target, the sectors covered by the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) would have to reduce their emissions by 43% compared to 2005.
Emissions from sectors outside the EU ETS would need to be cut by 30% below the 2005 level. This effort would be shared equitably between the Member States.
Increasing the share of renewable energy
The Commission proposes an objective of increasing the share of renewable energy to at least 27% of the EU’s energy consumption by 2030. While binding on the EU, the target would not be translated into national targets through EU legislation. This would give Member States flexibility to transform the energy system in a way that is adapted to their national preferences and circumstances.
The role of energy efficiency in the 2030 framework will be further considered in a review of the Energy Efficiency Directive due to be concluded later in 2014.
To make the EU ETS more robust and effective in promoting low-carbon investment at least cost to society, the Commission proposes to establish a market stability reserve at the beginning of the next ETS trading period in 2021.
The reserve would both address the surplus of emission allowances that has built up in recent years and improve the system’s resilience to major shocks by automatically adjusting the supply of allowances to be auctioned.
Energy secretary Ed Davey was broadly plaesed and said, “It’s good news that the Commission has listened to the UK argument that countries must be allowed to decarbonise in the cheapest way possible. The British green movement has moved on to technology neutral options as the most cost effective and practical way of fighting climate change.