Climate: EU asks member states to double efforts

Climate: EU asks member states to double efforts

Elisa Maria Giannetto
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The European Commission presented its climate report today, introducing corrective measures in order to reach its 20% renewable energy target within three years

With 2020 approaching, the EU has called on member states to ratchet up their commitments on climate change. The report officially presented today by the European Commission, whose contents were previewed by Reuters, pinpoints Europe’s current progress toward the 20-20-20 targets (20% reduction in polluting emissions and a 20% increase in renewable energy by 2020). According to the report out of Brussels, progress has been made, but there is still a lot to do. In 2015, it asserts, clean energy accounted for 16.4% of EU energy consumption, saving €16 billion on fossil fuel imports. Most of the growth in this sector has been in the form of onshore windfarms, while the growth of solar PV has seen more fluctuation. However, Brussels asserts that, in order to reach 20% renewables by 2020, and then 27% by 2030, additional measures will be required in order to overcome a number of obstacles to the full fruition of clean energies. Such obstacles include a lack of coherence among national energy strategies that results in general regulatory uncertainty. The Commission report also notes differences in the performance of different states, with the UK, Luxembourg and Ireland in particular lagging behind. This in spite of Ireland’s recent energy revolution, in which its parliament has approved a law to cut all public investments in petroleum, coal and natural gas. Following the measure’s approval in a financial review process, it may go into effect already in the next few months. In the meantime, Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Energy Union, will be visiting each member state to help them develop national plans ambitious enough honor the commitments of the Paris accords and act as cohesively as possible in the fight against climate change. The report also addressed general concerns about the future in light of the election of Donald Trump and his first environmental and energy policy decisions. "Despite the current geopolitical uncertainties ... Europe will move ahead with the clean energy transition, and will look to China and many other players to push forward," Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told reporters. Among the world’s top clean energy performers is Argentina, which has declared 2017 its "Year of Renewable Energy."