EU could miss climate targets 'if members fail to raise their ambition'

The European Commission has warned that EU member states must step up their ambitions in order to meet the bloc’s agreed 2030 energy and climate targets. 

In an assessment published on 18 June, the Commission said that member states’ national energy and climate plans (NECPs) already represent ‘significant efforts’ – but they fall short in terms of renewables and energy efficiency contributions. 

Under EU law, all 28 member states have vowed to meet three climate targets by 2030: cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% on 1990 levels, boosting energy efficiency by 32.5% and generating 32% of energy from renewables. At present, the draft NECPs suggest that the EU could fall short of both its renewables and energy efficiency goals by 1.6% and 6.2%, respectively. 

‘Member States have all produced impressive drafts in a relatively short time, but no draft is perfect,’ said Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič. ‘Final plans are due by the end of the year and our recommendations show where more effort is needed: for example, stronger ambition, more policy detail, better specified investment needs, or more work on social fairness.’ 

According to trade association Wind Europe, 15 member states are falling short on their renewable commitments: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and the UK. 

The Commission has asked member states to improve their draft plans in several ways. On the energy efficiency and renewable contributions, some countries have been called upon to increase efforts and better exploit their national potential. In addition, EU members have been asked to set ‘measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related’ climate objectives, as well as substantiate the achievement of their national targets with more concrete policies. 

‘The Commission’s recommendations highlight the areas where countries need to step up their game, namely permitting, electrification, corporate power purchase agreements, and the repowering of existing wind farms,’ said Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope. ‘Member States now know what they have to do – ramp up the ambition and fill in all the policy gaps. The Commission needs to stay on their backs and make sure they get it right.’ 

Countries now have six months to revise and finalise their NECPs so that they align with climate targets.

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