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Commission president Barroso sells out on climate and energy policy

EU governments expected to reach decision on 2030 targets at summit in March

Press release - January 22, 2014
Brussels –The European Commission has released a disappointing package of proposals on EU climate and energy policy up to 2030, said Greenpeace. EU governments now need to correct the flaws in these proposals and increase their ambition.

UPDATED: with comment on 'Transport fuels target (FQD)' 

 Commenting on the proposals, Greenpeace EU managing director Mahi Sideridou said: “The January sales are on and it looks like Europe’s dirty energy companies have bagged a bargain. The Commission’s plan for 2030 is a sell-out that would knock the wind out of a booming renewables industry. European citizens will pay the price: fewer green jobs, more imports of expensive fossil fuels and shorter lives because of pollution. Only a credible renewables target, alongside an ambitious carbon target, can shift the transformation of the EU’s energy system up a gear. EU governments now have to show some backbone and defend the climate by boosting clean energy.”

Renewables target - Slowdown

The Commission has proposed a binding EU target to increase the share of renewables to at least 27 per cent by 2030.

>>> Renewables have the potential to supply almost half of Europe’s energy in 2030 [2]. A target to only achieve 27 per cent would weaken Europe’s ability to transform its energy system. It would have a limited impact on Europe’s reliance on fossil fuel imports [3] and leave Europeans and businesses exposed to volatile energy prices. The EU-wide binding target should also be made binding on member states.

Carbon target – 40 or 33 percent?

The Commission has proposed a binding EU target to cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent (without offsets) by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

>>> This is insufficient for the EU to deliver its fair share of global emission reductions required to keep global warming within safe levels. A 40 per cent target would also fail to reinvigorate to the ailing carbon market. Research shows that unless the carbon market is fixed, it will weaken the 2030 target by seven percentage points, meaning the 40 per cent target could actually only be a 33 percent target [1].

Carbon market (ETS) – Still no permanent solution

The Commission’s legislative proposal calls for the creation of a stability reserve of carbon emission permits from 2021. Permits would be taken out of the carbon market progressively and throughout the trading period, depending on the volume of permits in the system.

>>> The stability reserve would only take part of the two billion surplus permits out of the system and would not do so fast enough to significantly impact the carbon price. On top of this, there is no guarantee that surplus permits would not re-enter the market in the future. Only permanent cancellation of surplus carbon emission allowances and strict 2030 targets can make the carbon market a driver for green investments.

Transport fuels target (FQD) – Giving up

The Commission has also proposed to abandon targets to curb carbon emissions from transport fuels under the fuel quality directive. The directive requires a six per cent cut in the carbon intensity of fuels by 2020. This target has not yet been implemented. The directive was expected to prevent imports of tar sands, one of the most polluting fuels on the planet.

>>> Abandoning obligations on the oil industry to reduce their carbon emissions would undermine Europe’s climate effort and open the door to tar sands.

European energy and environment ministers are likely to discuss the Commission’s proposal on 3 and 4 March. On 21 and 22 March, heads of state and governments will hold a dedicated EU summit aimed at reaching agreement. The Commission is then expected to release a binding legislative proposal in the second half of 2014.

Greenpeace is calling for a binding EU 2030 target to cut domestic emissions by at least 55 per cent, a binding target to increase the share of renewables to 45 per cent and a binding target for energy efficiency of 40 per cent.


[1] Ecofys report, 11 June 2013:http://www.ecofys.com/en/publication/the-next-step-in-europes-climate-action/

[2] CDC Climat Research, October 2013:http://www.cdcclimat.com/IMG//pdf/cdc_climat_recherche_tendances_carbone_no_84_eng.pdf

[3] International Energy Agency, 24 May 2012, Europe’s oil bill set to reach USD500 billion in 2012:http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/news/2012/may/name,27221,en.html



For energy:

Frederic Thoma - Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser: +32 (0)486 401 895,

Tara Connolly - Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser: +32 (0)477 790416,

For climate change and the carbon market:

Joris den Blanken - Greenpeace EU climate policy director: +32 (0)476 961375,

For transport fuels:

Franziska Achterberg - Greenpeace EU transport policy director: +32 (0)498 362403,

Greenpeace EU pressdesk: +32 (0)2 274 1911,

For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU

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.