The European Council approved the framework agreement on energy and climate for 2030 with the main objectives of achieving a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gases compared to 1990 levels, achieving a 27 percent share of renewable energies in the final energy consumption and improve energy efficiency by 27 percent.
The target for renewable energy will be binding on the whole of the EU but will not be broken down into mandatory national targets.
Emission rights trading is reaffirmed as the main instrument to achieve the objective of reducing emissions. Emissions from the sectors affected by this regime (ETS) should be reduced by 43 percent in 2030 compared to 2005.
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, wrote on his Twitter account that the agreement is the "most ambitious strategy ever agreed in the world."
However, various environmental organizations expressed their disappointment at the lack of ambition and even expressed that European representatives live out of reality.
WWF commented that "Big polluters will be happy because they will be able to escape an unmistakable price tag for polluting for at least another decade."
By slowing down the pace of EU action, the Council has significantly lowered what is expected of Europe at the international level in climate policy, noted the WWF, because the agreement adopted marks the path of the policy to combat climate change until 2030.
According to this international environmental organization, the agreed objectives "are profoundly inadequate" because "we are facing what is probably the warmest year, heat waves and floods are already hitting Europe and developing countries are suffering stronger impacts. ”.
“European countries must set targets that lead to a rapid and fair transition from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency. Until they do, they cannot continue to say that they are leaders in climate change, "said WWF.
For its part Greenpeace said: "The global fight against climate change needs a radical shock treatment, but what the EU is offering at best is a whiff of aromatic salts."
"Europe can and must do more to stop the most devastating impacts of climate change," he stressed in a statement.
They sacrifice our future
Jason Anderson, Head of Climate and Energy for WWF's European Office, said that “European leaders are sacrificing our future by betting on a short-sighted policy. Today's result seems destined to satisfy the interests of the old economy, at the cost of the well-being of the citizens and the industries of the future ”.
"Those EU Member States that see the benefits of taking climate action will have to fill the European legal gaps with their domestic policy, but this action will be limited as a political response is needed at the European level," Anderson added.
For Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF's global climate and energy initiative, stressed that “European countries have to establish objectives aimed at achieving a rapid and fair transition towards an energy model based on renewables and energy efficiency. Until they do, they cannot be considered climate leaders "
Demands for the future
WWF stated that in order for Council decisions not to halt the EU's progress on climate and energy, it must support an assessment of the gap between planned reductions and those needed to keep global warming below 2ºC.
This evaluation will serve to pressure the countries to reinforce their commitments, starting with the EU itself, which should review its objectives in light of the lack of ambition shown by the Council.
Likewise, the EU is required to develop a battery of efficient measures rather than focus on Emission Rights Trading. He highlighted the need to review the Energy Efficiency Directive and make changes to the emissions market and infrastructures to allow greater consumption of renewable energy.
The introduction of mandatory emission standards would prevent major pollutants from endangering the decarbonization process, he said.
The European Commission will need to come up with a very well articulated governance proposal to accelerate the development of energy efficiency and renewables in the Member States.
This is because the Council has jeopardized the implementation of the efficiency targets for the EU and at the national level by ruling out setting mandatory national targets for renewables.