Can the Fit for 55 Package put the EU on a path to meeting its climate targets?
The launch of the Fit for 55 Package is an important milestone. And in these challenging times, the concept of ‘Union’ within the European Union is more important than ever. The EU is showing strong global leadership and is taking decisions in the right direction, but we will only succeed in the fight against climate change if we act together. To achieve a net zero emissions future, we need to keep in mind two key concepts: technological neutrality and inclusivity.
The number of tons of CO2 that must be reduced is not in doubt. It is a target that should be set in stone. However, there are many routes to reach this target. In Europe, we must find a cost-effective way. Considering our strategic interests, the EU must define its own routes to get there by respecting and enhancing Europe’s industrial and technological capabilities.
When the world had to find a vaccine against Covid-19, the goal was clear: to find a successful solution to the virus. No technological or scientific constraints were established. And decarbonisation should be approached in the same way: by avoiding determinism and letting all technologies play their part.
Which technologies do you see playing a major role in driving Europe’s energy transition?
Electrification and renewables will be major players in the future, there is no doubt about that. However, biofuels (liquid and gases), synthetic fuels, low-carbon and renewable hydrogen, LNG, and carbon capture and storage will also be essential, and Repsol is leading the development of all these solutions.
“We are convinced that it is our obligation to society, as well as an essential condition to continue operating, to lead the future of Europe’s energy sector.”
Our company understands why we need to move on to fuels with net zero CO2 emission lifecycles. Low-carbon liquid fuels are needed to decarbonise sectors where electrification is not yet an option, such as aviation, maritime, and long-distance road transport, but also passenger cars and vans where electrification of the whole vehicle fleet will require considerable time. With low-carbon liquid fuels, all these vehicles can rapidly become climate neutral without the need for changes to the existing engines. In that sense, adaptation of the current regulation can be done using the guiding principle of “decarbonise the energy, not the vehicle”.
How is Repsol helping Europe achieve its low emission future?
In the European Green Deal, there are three key principles: universality, affordability, and security of energy. At Repsol, we are improving and evolving our processes to meet new standards and requirements for producing new energy vectors.
However, as a multi-energy company, Repsol cannot turn its back on the current needs of users and industry. Therefore, we continue working on traditional low-carbon energy sources which are currently affordable for most users, ensuring mobility for European citizens while doing our best to deploy new decarbonised energies.
Today, we are facing a transition period. And any of the technologies at our disposal can be useful as far as they can contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. But we are convinced that it is our obligation to society, as well as an essential condition to continue operating, to lead the future of Europe’s energy sector.
This also gives purpose to the transformation of our industrial complexes, turning them into multi-energy hubs based on circular economy principles. I firmly believe that industry has a key role to play in achieving a low emissions future. However, it is vital that Europe creates a balanced framework to achieve decarbonisation that benefits everyone.
How can the energy sector power Europe’s recovery?
The Fit for 55 Package is a unique opportunity to establish a regulatory framework capable of guaranteeing stability and unlocking the needed investments for our energy transition. The same goes for the NextGenerationEU program, which will allow us to emerge stronger from the pandemic. Getting European society back on the path to prosperity as quickly as possible and advancing towards a net zero emissions future requires the best possible combination of public policy and private initiative, including the creation of a level playing field that will allow companies to play their part in the recovery.
“At Repsol, it has been our priority throughout the pandemic to continue providing the energy products and services that our societies and our people need to keep going.”
Both in the EU and in Spain, we have set goals for re-industrialising our economy, and we have a great chance to do so using the NextGenerationEU funds. Industry creates stable, high-quality jobs, with the added benefit of creating wealth in the geographical area where it is based. While the Covid crisis has shown us how crucial industry is in tough times, as it supplies society with essential goods and services. At Repsol, it has been our priority throughout the pandemic to continue providing the energy products and services that our societies and our people need to keep going.
How else can we ensure European leadership in the energy sector?
Supporting European industry also means supporting an environmentally responsible industry. Yet, unfortunately, EU standards are not met in other parts of the world. Producing 1 ton of steel in Europe generates less GHG emissions than the same 1 ton of steel produced outside the EU. This applies to the energy sector as well. Therefore, carbon leakage protection should be strengthened in the upcoming ETS revision.
Let’s be clear: an orderly and cost-effective transition in Europe will only be possible if industry is strong and capable enough of gradually decarbonising and adapting to new low- and zero-carbon energy sources.
This content was commissioned by Repsol and produced by Dods
This article reflects the views of the author and not the views of The Parliament Magazine or of the Dods Group