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Published on January 23rd, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill

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EU Sets Binding Renewable Energy Targets After Tough Negotiations

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January 23rd, 2014 by
 
Following intense negotiations the European Union has announced a series of climate-based goals for the whole Union as part of the new EU framework on climate and energy for 2030.

Announced on Wednesday, the new framework includes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40% below 1990 levels, a Union-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%, renewed ambitions for energy efficiency policies, a new governance system, and a set of new indicators to ensure a competitive and secure energy system.

“Climate action is central for the future of our planet, while a truly European energy policy is key for our competitiveness,” said European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. “Today’s package proves that tackling the two issues simultaneously is not contradictory, but mutually reinforcing.”

“It is in the EU’s interest to build a job-rich economy that is less dependent on imported energy through increased efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy,” continued Barroso. “An ambitious 40% greenhouse reduction target for 2030 is the most cost-effective milestone in our path towards a low-carbon economy. And the renewables target of at least 27% is an important signal: to give stability to investors, boost green jobs and support our security of supply.”

While the 27% is a step in the right direction, some critics are suggesting that it doesn’t go far enough, specifically in regards to the lack of nationally binding targets.

“While it is pleasing to see the EU Commission recognise that renewable energy is a key part of future energy solutions across Europe, the lack of ambition in not ensuring there are national binding targets for renewable energy is a disappointment,” said RenewableUK Chief Executive Maria McCaffery. “This is a missed opportunity for member states to take collective and serious action on the drive for clean, sustainable, renewable energy, which is the best option for reducing our carbon emissions.”

The United Kingdom was one of the loudest voices during negotiations, calling for at least a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, and RenewableUK hope that the UK will similarly lead the way with binding renewable energy targets.

“The Commission has gone out of its way to point out that member states are still free to set their own nationally binding renewable energy targets, so it is not too late for the UK Government to take leadership on this issue,” said McCaffery. “To meet the binding Greenhouse Gas targets and also the UK Government’s stated aim of tackling climate change, we need to keep investing in the world beating renewable sources we have, which can also bring thousands of jobs and help our energy security.”

The 2030 framework will be supported by a detail analysis on energy prices and costs, which assess the key drivers and compares prices across the European Union with those of its main trading partners.

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.



  • Bill_Woods

    How is this 27% target “binding”? Suppose it looks like they’re going to be at 25% — what happens? A quick round of ‘Not It’?

  • JamesWimberley

    It’s proposal not a decision. However, it’s still very significant, for two reasons. One: when it comes to legislation, the EU Commission has a ealously guarded monopoly of initiative. In practice this casts a long shadow over policy. It would be very difficult for Britain or any other member state to get a proposal on the table against the opposition of the Commission. So Commission proposals aren’t just any proposals, they frame the political discussion very strongly.

    Second, the framing effect is enhanced by the balance of powers between the European Council (ie the member States assembled) and the European Parliament, which is progressive on environmental issues. So to get a major amendment through (say scrapping binding renewables targets), Cameron would have to line up a majority both of member states and of MEPs, which is almost impossible.

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