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EU leaders pull handbrake on clean energy

Press release - October 24, 2014
Brussels – Despite considerable opposition by some governments, in the early hours of Friday morning EU leaders agreed three targets for carbon emission reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency for 2030. But these targets are too low, slowing down efforts to boost renewable energy and keeping Europe hooked on polluting and expensive fuels, said Greenpeace.

Greenpeace EU managing director (Ms) Mahi Sideridou said: “The global fight against climate change needs radical shock treatment, but what the EU is offering is at best a whiff of smelling salts. People across Europe want cleaner energy, but EU leaders are knocking the wind out of Europe’s booming renewables sector. Europe can and should do more to stop the most devastating impacts of climate change.” [1]

Next year, the new European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, is expected to table legislation which will make these targets a reality in EU countries. This legislation will have a profound impact on energy bills, energy security and efforts to cut emissions across Europe.

“New Commission president Juncker and his team have said they want to make Europe a leader in renewable energy. They now need to table watertight climate and energy legislation. Importantly, these new laws must stop giving dirty energy companies and polluting industries a free ride,” added Sideridou.

EU leaders said they may upgrade their carbon target under an international climate agreement at the Paris conference in 2015. Greenpeace urges them to increase their ambition.

What’s in the agreement:

  • Leaders agreed three climate and energy targets for 2030: an “at least” 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within the EU (without the use of offset credits), based on 1990 levels; a binding share of at least 27 per cent renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix; and an indicative target of at least 27 per cent energy savings, which could be increased to 30 per cent after a review in 2020.
  • For lower income EU countries, such as Poland, the agreement includes mechanisms to support investments in “energy modernisation and energy efficiency”. Under current policies, these funds have been misused to support coal plants.
  • Several industries will continue to receive free carbon emission allowances, but details on the workings of the EU carbon market won’t be known until legislation is tabled next year.
  • Leaders also adopted a target to increase interconnections between Europe’s power markets to 15% in 2030.

Note:

[1] According to polls, Europeans overwhelmingly support national targets for renewable energy and strong policies for energy efficiency. See for instance, Eurobarometer, March 2014: Special Eurobarometer on climate change.

Read our briefing for the EU climate and energy summit here.

 

ContactGreenpeace EU press desk+32 (0)2 274 1911

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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.