Looking forward to 2030: EU green paper on future climate and energy policies

The European Commission has published a consultation on future climate change and energy policy. There are three targets already in place for 2020: to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent compared with 1990 levels; to obtain 20 per cent of the EU’s energy from renewable sources; and to reduce energy consumption by 20 per cent. The first two targets are binding; the third is not. Since the 2020 targets were agreed in 2009, there have been issues with security of supply of natural gas and also challenges linked to the variable supply of certain renewables, such as wind and solar, which the 2030 framework will need to address.

According to the Commission, the EU is “making good progress towards meeting the 2020 targets” but there is a need now to reflect on a framework for 2030 because long investment cycles mean that infrastructure funded in the near term will still be in place in 2030 and beyond.  Setting objectives for 2030 will also create more demand for efficient and low carbon technologies and spur research, development and innovation.  There is also an international agreement on climate mitigation expected by the end of 2015 and the EU will need to have its own targets agreed by then in order to engage actively in the debate…

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