EU Climate Change and Energy Policy



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WWF COP17 Global Day of Action march, Durban, South Africa, 2011.
© WWF-Canon / Zubair Sayed

Climate change is a big issue for the world because it affects many aspects of our lives. The European Union is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and WWF is taking action to convince EU decision makers to reduce our emissions and help fight climate change.

Climate change is a huge threat for the world’s communities and ecosystems. A warming planet alters weather patterns and water supplies, seasonal growth for plants and ways of life for people and wildlife.
 

Its impacts are already being felt all over the world and are also knocking on Europe’s door, bringing extreme rainfall resulting in devastating floods, heat waves, forest fires, and prolonged droughts. 


To keep temperatures down, we have to cut greenhouse gas emissions decisively – by 95% by 2050, with a more immediate target of 40% by 2020 and 55% by 2030. These emissions reductions provide a good probability of staying below 2° C warming, and would keep WWF’s goal of a 1.5° C maximum within reach. Additionally, a 100% renewable energy supply from sustainable sources by 2050 is vital. The European Union’s Member States have endorsed the 2°C limit, but the EU’s current targets only require a 20% cut in emissions by 2020, and a 40% reduction by 2030, with a final objective of 80-95% by 2050. 
 

The time to act is now!


This year the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) will meet to negotiate, what will most likely be a binding agreement on climate change. Key issues where the EU is not showing enough ambition on are, climate finance, 5 year ratchet-up commitment periods, and a long-term goal. WWF calls on Member State governments to show the political leadership needed to inspire Europe and its allies, and to  create an agreement in Paris that facilitates the transition towards an industrial, and economic revolution that will provide for both people and the planet.

2030 Climate & Energy package

At the EU Summit in October 2014, EU Member States negotiated and finalised the new 2030 climate and energy package, the outcome of which still needs to go through the ‘’ordinary legislative procedure’’. The targets agreed are for an ‘’at least 40% binding emissions reduction target’’, an ‘’ 27% renewable energy target‘’ and a ‘’27% energy savings target with an option to revisit this target in the future’’. Additionally the Summit set out the reform of the EU Emissions Trading System; and the development of a New Governance Framework.

The EU prides itself on being a world leader on climate change, particularly with regards to renewable energy consumption. For WWF, the adoption of an ambitious climate and energy deal for 2030 was the ultimate stress test for Europe. The weak outcome last October reduced the credibility of the EU to drive forward the necessary industrial and economic transition needed, and to provide protection for both people and the planet, and to reduce the planet’s temperature.  

The targets include no national binding targets for renewables, and there are no EU or national level binding energy efficiency targets either, therefore removing any driver to enforce the implementation of these targets. 

The new governance framework endorsed in October 2014 must remove the uncertainty created by the unenforceable nature of these targets. It must accelerate member state deployment of renewables, and hold them accountable for progress in both renewables and energy efficiency, and provide structure for emissions reductions strategies. A strong, accountable, and comprehensive governance system is needed. This governance framework will be further developed during the Luxembourg Presidency 2015.