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EU agrees to curb energy use by 11.7% by 2030

March 10, 2023

EU politicians hope a deal cutting energy consumption will fight climate change and curb the continent's reliance on Russian fossil fuels. It will go to the European Parliament and countries for a final vote.

The lignite-fired power station operated by German energy giant RWE in Neurath, western Germany on October 5, 2022 .
The deal aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050Image: Ina Fassbender/AFP

Negotiators from European Union member-states and the European Parliament struck on Friday a deal to reduce final energy consumption across the bloc by 11.7% by 2030.

The agreement comes as the bloc strives to curb reliance on Russian energy and fight climate change.

"Saving energy is a key step to saving the planet," EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said in a statement.

"In recent months, Europeans have shown that they are ready and able to face this challenge, and our industry has proven that it can optimize its energy use and production processes," he added.

The Green Deal will be referred to the European Parliament and member states for a final vote. This is usually a formality, with bills often getting approved without changes.

Why did the EU increase the cut percentage?

Friday's deal comes as an amendment to an earlier 9% target, initially proposed in 2021. It is all part of the EU's plans to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

However, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the need for European countries to curb their reliance on fossil fuels, for which Russia was the biggest supplier, became more urgent.

 "This will mean real change for the benefit of the climate and disadvantage of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," the Reuters news agency quoted Niels Fuglsang, Parliament's lead negotiator, as saying.

What does the deal mean for the 27 members?

The deal comes as a compromise between the European Parliament, which was pushing for the far higher goal of 14%, and some EU countries who were keen on sticking to the original 9%.

It means that EU member-states must save an average of 1.49% of final energy consumption per year between 2024 and 2030.

The deal stipulates that the target would be legally binding. While bloc members have the freedom to set their own non-binding national goal, if they do not achieve the 11.7% goal, the European Commission will intervene to set a course.

Still on target for 2030 climate goals?

rmt/sms (AP, Reuters)