A chance for EU ministers to deliver on the Paris Agreement: the Energy Efficiency legislation

Today EU Energy ministers will meet to discuss a crucial file of the Energy Package: the Energy Efficiency Directive. The directive provides a framework for achieving energy efficiency and savings in households, industry and buildings, but also the service sector. Energy efficiency has numerous benefits such as increased competitiveness, reduced energy imports, cleaner air, the creation of local jobs and contribute to ending energy poverty.

The legislation currently undergoing revision aims at ensuring that Europe continues efforts to become more energy efficient beyond the current 2020 framework. In a resolution voted on last June, the European Parliament called on increasing the EU’s efforts to reduce energy (calling for a 40% energy efficiency target by 2030) and to accelerate the energy transition. 

The Greens urge EU Energy Ministers to show that they understand the importance of having binding and ambitious targets within a stable long-term framework, if Europe is to play its part under the Paris Agreement. When US President Donald Trump announced his decision to leave the deal reached in December 2015, all EU States said they were determined to lead the way and do their utmost so that global warming can be maintained well under 2°C. These important announcements are all very welcome, but need to be followed with concrete decisions and actions.

The energy package that is currently being negotiated by the EU institutions is key to ensure that the EU delivers, and that it can play a prominent and positive role in UN climate negotiations. Saving energy makes sense: It helps us all to save money, improves security, lowers emissions and makes it easier to respect the promises we make on the international stage. The ambition should therefore be strengthened to make sure that our continent quickly turns away from fossil fuels and that we all benefits from the social, economic and health benefits that will come with it. The fact that some Members States are pushing for weaker energy saving targets and more loopholes that will greatly weaken the key features of the legislation even more is totally at odds with their public discourse! Clearly, European countries need to do more than Trump bashing!

As analysed by the 'Regulatory Assistance Project', companies won’t invest in efficiency and efficiency programs unless they are encouraged by governments to do so. Without the right signals, money will be invested in infrastructure that risks becoming future stranded investments or create lock in effects. Ambitious and binding targets are the only way to give enough clarity to financial actors and institutional investors so that sufficient capital can be channeled to energy efficiency and renewable energy, and therefore allow citizens to reap the related economic benefits. The Energy transition will be less expensive, more reliable and easier to achieve if based on strong energy savings. Undermining that foundation would be a serious backwards step for the European Union.

More information

·         Our message to Members States’ reaction to Trump leaving the Paris Agreement (English and French) and our press release on the European Parliament vote on the ‘Effort Sharing Regulation’

·         Our Green MEP and shadow rapporteur Benedek Javor’s opinion on this file (published by Euractiv)

·         Letter to EU Energy Ministers from the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change