EU calls for 2030 green goals
- Published on Friday, 08 June 2012 10:23
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Commissioner says new targets for renewable energy, emissions reductions and energy efficiency may be needed to sustain green growth
Europe should agree 2030 climate goals for renewable energy as soon as possible or risk investment in the sector sputtering out, according to the EU's latest strategy statement.
The EU currently has a target of ensuring 20 per cent of its energy comes from renewable sources by the end of the decade, which analysts predict it should exceed, leaving some proponents concerned growth may cease if tougher goals are not put in place.
The strategy says strong renewables growth to 2030 could generate over three million jobs, would result in a net GDP growth, increase security of supply and help the EU economy save between €518bn and €550bn by 2050 on oil imports. And it notes "without a suitable framework [after 2020] renewable energy growth will slump".
In a statement, energy commissioner Günther Oettinger called for a longer-term strategy, which could involve new targets for renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency.
"We should continue to develop renewable energy and promote innovative solutions. We have to do it in a cost-efficient way," he said. "This means: producing wind and solar power where it makes economic sense and trading it within Europe, as we do for other products and services."
Other options discussed in the paper include bringing in new carbon cutting targets, but none for renewable energy, instead relying on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to encourage investment, or simply to retain the current situation.
However, the collapse of the carbon price to less than €7, far below what analysts say is needed to encourage low carbon investment, means that a target is likely to prove popular with developers.
Stephane Bourgeois, head of regulatory affairs at trade body the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), welcomed the possibility.
"European Ministers must turn this message into action and back a renewable energy target for 2030," he said. "A legally binding renewable energy target for 2030 is crucial if we want to foster Europe's leadership in wind energy, and in particular offshore wind."
In related news, developed countries who have signed up to carbon cutting targets under the Kyoto Protocol could find those goals doubled if a submission by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is ratified.
AOSIS is proposing under a second period of the treaty, which could start from next year, the EU commits to emissions reductions of 19 per cent on 1990 levels between 2013 and 2017, compared to the eight per cent it was required to make from 2008 to 2012.
Some emerging economies not covered by the original 2008 treaty would also have to implement significant reductions, with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine expected to achieve cuts of 35 per cent, 27 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.
The submission is the first suggestion of how a new Kyoto Protocol could look, but the targets are likely to be watered-down long before any binding deal is agreed.
Source: Business Green 2012 ©