WWF reacts: national climate plan assessment from EU Commission | WWF

WWF reacts: national climate plan assessment from EU Commission

Posted on 18 June 2019
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Brussels, Belgium - 18 June 2019

Reacting to today’s evaluation from the European Commission of EU Member States’ energy and climate plans (NECPs), Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office said:

“All the Member States have homework to do on their draft climate and energy plans. While some may be stronger than others, none of them stands up to the ambition of the Paris Agreement. Particularly shameful is some countries squandering easy wins for the climate and the economy by being unambitious on energy efficiency and renewables.

However, the growing support for a net zero emissions target for 2050 - with Germany and Hungary the latest countries to come on board - shows a sea-change in attitudes to climate action. This political shift, along with the massive public support for climate action, opens the way for finalised plans which are transparent, inclusive and ambitious enough to take the EU to 65% emissions reductions by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement.”

Comments from WWF national offices

Karl Schellmann, head of climate and energy, WWF Austria said:
"If the climate plan is not radically improved, there is the threat of a billion-dollar failure to reach the EU targets. Austria needs a genuine ecological tax reform that rewards environmentally friendly behaviour and curbs fossil energies. Every household must receive an ecobonus from this, for companies investments in energy savings and renewable energies as well as labour must become cheaper. Environmentally harmful subsidies must be quickly dismantled and environmentally friendly investments made. At the same time, there is a need for a major energy-saving programme with comprehensive thermal building refurbishment and a turnaround in mobility, including massive expansion of public transport and cycle paths. In addition, freight transport must be shifted more from road to rail and electrification concepts for local transport must be implemented quickly. The resulting sharp drop in energy consumption must be covered by renewable energies. These must always be developed in accordance with nature conservation criteria. The focus must be on solar and wind energy, since hydropower and biomass are already being used to the limits of nature compatibility."

Julie Vandenberghe, Climate Policy Officer at WWF Belgium said:
“Belgium’s current masterplan to combat the climate crisis is not fit for purpose. It lacks an integrated approach and fails to give concrete details on policy measures, timing, scope and financial needs. With the backlog Belgium carries along with regards to its 2020 targets, Belgian governments seriously need to step up their ambition for 2030 and beyond. It is time to commit to carbon neutrality latest by 2050, push for an increased EU ambition and put policy measures in place to reach the objectives it committed to when it signed the Paris Agreement.

Georgi Stefanov, Chief Climate and Energy Expert at WWF Bulgaria said:
“The overall EC recommendation approved that Bulgaria needs to further develop its political responsibilities, to increase its 2030 RES target and achieve at least 27%. This is also valid for the energy efficiency field, where the political ambition is very low and the target easily will be achieved with existing measures, which is not enough. Finally the local usage of coal and nuclear is not well defined and explained and there is needs to be further developed and explained why those issues are questions on national security.”

Mia Rahunen, Climate Specialist, WWF Finland said:
“Finland’s draft Energy and Climate Plan delivered last year does not reflect the ambitious climate goals of the new government and the recently published carbon neutrality goal 2035. Thus we have a reason to expect significant improvements to be made and a public consultation to be arranged before the delivery of the final plan. In order to comply with the 1.5°C target, Finland should aim for 65% emission reductions by 2030. The missing plan to phase out fossil fuel subsidies should of course be added too. We share the concerns of the Commission regarding the sustainability of the use of the biomass and the need for additional information about LULUCF sector, since increased logging rates have significantly reduced forest carbon sinks. Additionally, Finland’s current plans to continue use peat energy is contradictory to its carbon neutrality target.”

Pierre Cannet, interim co-director of programs, WWF France said;
"The European Commission recommendations on the French climate and energy objectives show clearly that France has to increase its ambition to contribute adequately to European targets, especially on two key pillars of the transition: renewable energy and energy efficiency. The French government has to take additional measures in the building and transport sectors to honour its climate budgets. It confirms what WWF has already pushed for: France has to put urgently energy refurbishment and mobility decarbonisation as a priority, with concrete actions to be integrated into the national regulations currently under discussion. France needs also to align its new budget with the Paris Agreement, in particular by phasing out subsidies to fossil fuels as recommended by the Commission - which are still representing 19 billion euros in 2019. France must finally provide human resources and financial support to be able to build a 'just' transition, ensuring sustainable futures for workers who will be impacted by the energy transition, in particular in coal and nuclear"

WWF Germany - contact Juliette de Grandpré
Juliette.deGrandpre@wwf.de
Senior climate and energy policy advisor
Tel: 030 311 777-213
Mobile: 0151 18854937

Adam Harmat, Climate and Energy Programme Leader, WWF Hungary said:
"Hungary could be a good example in the CEE region in terms of CO2 reduction with the ongoing PV boom, and the fact that the coal-phase out is part of the public debate. However, the government failed to do the tangible and necessary next steps so far, which is reflected in the 2030 planning. As the European Commission highlighted, the renewable and energy efficiency targets are weak and not ambitious enough. Biomass is already playing a significant part of the renewable mix, and the NECP plans to exploit it more. However, there is not a single word mentioned about its sustainability securement. Other significant shortcoming of the government engagement is demonstrated by the lack of planned actions targeting energy poverty, which are also missing from the draft document. The government will have a busy half year, if they intend to fulfil properly the recommendations."

Mariagrazia Midulla, Head of Climate and Energy, WWF Italy said:
“There is plenty of room for improvement, starting from the target for renewables, which is inadequate compared to the European one and the Italian potential. The big problem that is also emerging is the overestimated investments in infrastructure and new gas capacity. We encourage the Government to operate in a systemic way, we can no longer work in watertight compartments, what is done on transport is reflected in the sector electric, and vice versa. We hope that, the opportunity for a direct involvement of the stakeholders will soon arrive."

Oskar Kulik, Climate and Energy Policy Officer, WWF Poland said:
"The feedback of the European Commission (EC) on the Polish NECP resembles our concerns raised on the NECP in February this year. The EC confirms that the proposed 21% RES target for Poland will not be sufficient as an input into the EUs target of 32%.  Also much work has to be done on Energy Efficiency policies and measures. As Poland is challenged with the problem of air pollution insufficient links between combating air pollution and slashing greenhouse gases emissions are shown. What’s more, in the perspective of a highly probable net-zero emissions target for the EU by 2050 at the latest the Polish NECP is failing to address this matter.  Consequently, the current version of the NECP cannot be seen as future-proof, by not addressing the arising challenges on the path towards a fully decarbonised economy including the opportunities as well as a just transition for the people in economic sectors at risk.

Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Climate Change, WWF-UK said:
“The UK is the first major economy to put a net-zero emissions target by 2050 into law. This is a crucial first step to address the climate emergency, but now we have to put ambition into action. As has been highlighted today by the EU commission the government must now accelerate delivery of the policies and resource needed to slash our emissions.  WWF UK are calling on the government to make climate action a priority across all departments. This is essential to enable us to heat our homes and fuel our vehicles with clean energy, to restore nature, and to avert climate breakdown. “
 
More information:
See the European Commission communication
See the European Commission recommendations

Contact:
Imke Luebbeke, Head, EU Climate and Energy Policy
iluebbeke@wwf.eu +32 2 743 88 18

Sarah Azau, Senior Communications Officer,
sazau@wwf.eu +32 473 573 137
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