Binding ‘2030 climate and energy’ target will benefit EU

European parliament votes to 'improve energy situation', Britta Thomsen explains.

By Britta Thomsen MEP

18 Feb 2014

The European parliament has voted in favour of an ambitious approach to the 2030 framework for climate and energy policy, continuing with three ambitious and binding targets on greenhouse gas reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. They did so with one objective in mind: improving Europe’s energy situation.

Today, Europe is completely dependent on energy imports. In 2012, Europe spent more than €500bn on foreign coal, oil and gas.  This money could be better spent locally.   

Therefore, Europe needs to invest in energy efficiency, in order to use energy more efficiently, and in the creation of our own indigenous energy source: renewable energy. 

This will greatly enhance European competitiveness in the future. It will optimise production, making it possible to produce the same output with a smaller amount of energy. And it will put Europe on the forefront for green technologies, on which demand in the future will rise globally.  

Finally, it will reduce the negative impacts of CO2 on the climate, reducing the number of natural disasters that are very costly, both socially and economically. 

In 2008 the European parliament agreed on the 2020 framework for climate and energy policy. Back then I followed the development of the 2020 report closely through my membership of the industry, research and energy committee.

As shadow rapporteur for S&D group on the latest 2030 report one major difference is impossible not to notice. The framework of three binding targets for 2020 was agreed upon by an overwhelming majority, and has been a tremendous success; it was not, however, the same case with the 2030 framework. 

[pullquote]Strong opposition fought against a framework of three binding targets, especially specific goals for renewable energy and energy efficiency[/pullquote]. The main argument for this is a fear that the costs will be too high. This fear was based on incorrect presumptions.

Because, while a transition to a greener future may demand investments now, those investments will create lasting European jobs and cheaper energy in the long run.

According to Commissioner Hedegaard, the current plans for improvements in our energy efficiency have the potential to create 500,000 jobs before 2020.

Moreover, studies show that while the price on fossil fuels will rise in the future, the price on renewable energy will fall.

Binding targets is the only way to ensure, that member states reach the targets, that have been agreed on and also the only way to attract investment.

By agreeing on binding targets for all member states in the 2030 framework, the EU will send a clear message to the industry: investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency will happen in a stable and predictable situation. 

We want businesses to know how the European energy situation is going to evolve until 2030. Predictability will allow for investment in key energy sectors and thus create green possibilities and green jobs. I strongly urge the commission and the member states to consider that need for predictability.

There is still plenty of work to be done in order to secure a greener and more energy independent Europe. My hope is that the heads of state and government have listened to the parliament and remember this during the upcoming talks.