Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% (below the 1990 level), a mandatory objective of at least 27% at EU level for renewable energy, renewed ambitions for energy efficient policies, a new government system and a set of new indicators for ensuring a safe and competitive system, these are the pillars of the new EU framework on climate change and energy for 2030.
The pillars of the new framework were presented by the European Commission at the end of January. Supported by a detailed analysis of the energy prices and costs, the framework for 2030 will ensure the regulatory stability for investors and a coordinated approach between member states, triggering the development of new technologies. In fact, the aim of the framework is to stimulate a progress towards an economy with low carbon-dioxide emissions and an energy system which provides energy at affordable prices, increasing the security of energy supply and creating new growth opportunities and jobs, while also considering the potential impact on long-term prices. “An ambitious project of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% until 2030 is the most cost-efficient milestone in our way towards an economy with low carbon-dioxide emissions. And the objective of at least 27% for renewable energy is an important signal that provides stability to investors, stimulates environmentally friendly jobs and supports the procurement security”, declared EC President Jose Manuel Barroso.
The communication which sets the 2030 framework (to be debated within the Council and the EP) is accompanied by a law proposal on market stability reserve on EU’s emission trading scheme (EU ETS) as of 2021. The report of energy prices and costs suggests that an increase of energy prices can be partially reduced by ensuring efficient energy and climate policies.
“The 2030 framework sets a high level of ambition on counteracting climate changes, but also acknowledges that this objective should be attained at the lowest cost. The internal energy market is everything we need to achieve this objective and I will continue to struggle to complete it so as to be able to benefit from its full potential. This includes the “Europenization” of renewable energy policies”, said Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger.
Elements of the political framework for 2030
The key elements of the political framework for 2030, set by the Commission, consist in two mandatory objectives. One is related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as core element of the EU energy and climate policy – of reducing emissions by 40% – that could only be met through internal measures. The annual reduction of the maximum threshold of emissions in the sectors pertaining to the EU ETS scheme would increase from 1.74% (today) to 2.2% after 2020, while those not included in the scheme should be reduced by 30% (compared to 2005) – an effort equally shared by EU member states. Thus, the Commission invites the Council and the EP to agree, by the end of 2014, on the fact that EU should commit to a 40% cut at the beginning of 2015 as part of international negotiations on a new global climate change agreement to be concluded in Paris at the end of 2015.
The second objective concerns renewable energy playing a crucial part in the transition to a competitive, safe and sustainable system. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% should determine the use of renewable energy by at least 27% in 2030, this being EU’s mandatory goal on renewable energy. Its achievement is ensured by the new governance system based on national energy plans: energy efficiency – whose role will be analysed during the review of directive on energy efficiency to be concluded later this year. EC will analyse the potential need to amend the directive after completing the review. The national energy plans of member states will also have to include energy efficiency.
Another element is the reform of the EU ETS scheme for which EC proposes the establishment of a reserve for consolidating the market at the beginning of the new trading period of ETS in 2021. “The reserve would also permit the approach of the surplus of emission certificates and the optimisation of the system endurance to major shocks by automatically adjusting the supply of certificates to be tendered, (…) the creation of such reserves being supported by a broad range of interested parties”, EC press release states.
For competitive and safe energy at affordable prices, EC proposes a series of key indicators on the evaluation of the progress in time, and by means of these indicators policies will ensure a competitive and safe energy system is the perspective of 2030.
For the new governance system, the 2030 framework proposes a system based on national plans for competitive, safe and sustainable energy. Based on the future guidelines elaborated by EC, these plans will be developed by member states based on a common approach.
Transports are part of key complementary policies, for which the objective is reducing emissions by 60% until 2050 and by 20% until 2030 (compared to 2008). A reduction of emissions will require the gradual transformation of the entire transport system to a better integration of transport modes, an improved exploitation of “non-road” alternatives and the optimisation of traffic flow management with intelligent systems.