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EU’s climate and energy vision

2015-02-25

Today the European Commission unveiled its vision for an Energy Union, as well as a Communication on the UN climate negotiations, the ‘Paris Protocol’. While these key documents setting out the EU’s future climate and energy plan are a welcome step, they both come with blind spots on how to shift Europe to a low-carbon economy and seriously address climate change.
 
1. The Energy Union’s double vision

The Commission strikes many of the right notes, such as being explicit about moving away from fossil fuels, reorganising energy markets around renewables, and giving efficiency a central role. But it also focuses in on the need to bolster fossil fuel supply, and piles up idea upon idea: diversifying uranium supplies, supporting CCS, and nuclear fusion all come in for a positive mention. The word ‘gas’ appears dozens of times, while ‘coal’ does not turn up once.
 
Reacting to the EU’s Energy Union vision presented today, Tony Long, Director of the WWF European Policy Office, said:
 
“The Energy Union plan could be the roadmap for a much-needed reorganisation of the EU’s energy system around renewables and efficiency. Or it could be a recipe for maintaining the status quo. Everything depends on follow-up. The plan is currently marked by inconsistencies, such as the focus on fossil fuels for energy security, despite pledging to move towards renewables.”
 
2. The ‘Paris Protocol’ Communication: When “good” is “not good enough”

The EU is moving first internationally to outline its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), which it is pairing with an outline of its vision for the international agreement in Paris. It is hoping to create momentum among other major emitters to take similar commitments soon, and lay the groundwork for a ratifiable Protocol.
 
Reacting to the EU’s ‘Paris Protocol’ Communication today, Jason Anderson, Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy at WWF European Policy Office, said:
 
“The EU is painting a pretty impression of the Paris Protocol, but with a limited palette - its own commitments are in muted shades of grey. While it is contributing positively to a view of the overall process and design, Europe doesn’t deliver the needed clarity or ambition to be in line with its equitable share of global responsibility.”

(Source: panda.org)