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EU energy policy needs teeth to limit temperature increase to 1.5° says IEA review

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said in its quinquennial report “European Union 2020 - Energy Policy Review”, issued yesterday (25th June), that the European Union should align its short-term recovery objectives with the long-term climate goal by investing in energy efficiency and clean energy infrastructure.
EU energy policy needs teeth to limit temperature increase to 1.5° says IEA review

As the energy sector – production and use – accounts for 75 percent of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, their drastic reduction is vital for the achievement of the Paris Agreement target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C. Stronger policies than those currently in place will be needed to deliver on this ambition.

“The EU’s impressive track record of decarbonising power systems through renewable energy technologies, notably offshore wind but also solar PV, offers an inspiring example for many economies around the world” the report says. “It also provides a sound basis for the broader decarbonisation of Europe’s economy in the longer term”.

The 750 billion euro recovery package and the next EU budget offer ample opportunities for financing a whole range of critical sustainable energy infrastructure and align the immediate with the long-term gains. Buildings renovations must be prioritised, while excluding fossil fuels subsidies and switching faster to renewables-based energy supply. Europe’s transition towards 100 percent renewables by 2040 needs to be speeded up and emissions need to be reduced by at least 65 percent, compared with 1990 level, in this decade. Investing in the clean energy transition is also one of the best contributions the EU can make to the economic recovery.

“This report restates the need to put the European Green Deal at the heart of the economic recovery and shows that Europe can and should be more ambitious and go for a transformational change that will ensure clean, secure and affordable energy to all Europeans” said Wendel Trio, the Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe. “There are ample opportunities for Europe to reduce energy consumption and increase investments in renewable energy sources. To ensure governments and companies make use of these opportunities we need to strengthen EU energy policies and targets, starting with an increase of the 2030 climate target, to be agreed within the next six months. The sooner we understand that fossil gas is a bridge to nowhere, the faster we will get to a carbon-free Europe and avoid useless and costly detours. Energy efficiency and a 100 percent renewable energy supply should be the two main pillars of our future energy system. Let’s get our priorities right and put all the chances on our side to avoid dangerous climate change impacts”.  

The 300 pages review of the EU energy and climate policies by the International Energy Agency assesses progress made over the past five years and reviews opportunities for boosting energy-sector action in the context of the EU economic recovery and climate neutrality.

In 2019, the EU proposed the European Green Deal (EGD), a set of 50 actions for the coming five years across all sectors to prepare the EU economy for climate neutrality by 2050. In December 2019, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal (EGD), which aims at making Europe a climate-neutral continent by 2050. This goal is to be enshrined in the European Climate Law, which was proposed in March 2020. Work is underway for a planned increase in the 2030 GHG emissions reduction target to at least 50 percent and towards 55 percent, which would be followed by legislation.

For additional information:

IEA Energy Policy Review

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe

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