State of the Energy Union shows urgent climate action is needed, but fails to address counterproductive EU policies

Posted on October, 24 2023

Today’s State of the Energy Union report makes clear that the EU and its Member States aren’t on track to hit the climate-neutrality objective and need to cut emissions much faster. But the Commission fails to assess whether EU policies themselves are consistent with that objective, despite its obligation under the EU climate law to do so.
The Commission concludes that the Green Deal has helped the EU weather the storm of the recent energy crisis, but that it is not cutting emissions nearly fast enough to meet the EU’s climate targets and much more action is needed. 

WWF welcomes the acknowledgement that emissions must be cut much faster - even to meet the inadequate 55% target. As the accompanying ‘Climate Action Progress Report’ puts it: “Overall, the level of progress by Member States in recent years falls significantly short of the effort required over the coming decades to meet both the medium and the long-term EU climate targets” [and] “the pace of emission reduction needs to pick up, to almost triple the average annual reduction achieved over the last decade”. 

The Commission highlights particular issues in some sectors, especially transport and agriculture, where emissions have essentially stagnated since 2005, as well as the LULUCF sector, where carbon removals have declined “at a worrying speed” in recent years “mostly due to a decrease in forest related removals, triggered mainly by an increase in harvesting”.

“The Commission laments the lack of progress in sectors such as agriculture and land use, but makes no mention of the EU policies behind it, such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the EU’s bioenergy policies. Instead it puts the onus on Member States to fix the problem, by revising their national energy and climate plans (NECPs) and CAP strategic plans. The Commission should be looking much closer to home, at the EU policies that are actively hindering climate action” said Alex Mason, Head of Climate & Energy at the WWF European Policy Office.

The European Commission’s failure to present an assessment - as required by the EU climate law - of whether all existing ‘Union measures’ are consistent with climate goals is regrettable, in that this represents a critical piece of the climate action puzzle. 

“The promised - and legally required - assessment of whether EU policies are consistent with the climate neutrality goal seems to be missing in action. Either that, or the Commission has concluded that all EU policies are perfectly aligned with climate goals. They might like to look at our recent report on the issue, which reaches a very different conclusion” said Michael Sicaud-Clyet, Climate & Energy Policy Officer at the WWF European Policy Office.

Florian Cassier
Climate Communications Officer
+32 479 33 92 11
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