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EU finds national climate plans insufficient

June 18, 2019

The EU executive has said national plans for renewables and energy efficiency fell short of the bloc's goals. The deficiency may undermine its ability to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels.

Offshore-Windpark alpha ventus
Image: Areva Multibrid/Jan Oelker

EU member states are not doing enough to meet the bloc's 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the European Commission said Tuesday.

EU countries have submitted 10-year draft plans to the Commission outlining how they intend to contribute to the bloc's 2015 Paris climate accord commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels.

Read more: Carbon dioxide levels highest in human history 

The draft plans need to be completed by the end of the year.  

On the whole, the EU executive said the draft plans were insufficient in the areas of renewables and energy efficiency. Last year, the EU decided that energy efficiency should increase across the EU by 32.5% of consumption by 2030 compared to 2007. In addition, the share of renewable energies in total consumption should increase to 32%.

These goals apply to the entire EU and the governments of the 28 countries were tasked with developing national energy and climate plans to outline their contributions to achieving the common goals.

"With plans currently falling short both in terms of renewables and energy efficiency contributions, reaching the EU's overall climate and energy goals will require a collective step up of ambition," the Commission said.

Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Lithuania and Portugal offered "significantly high contributions" in reaching the renewable energy goal, the Commission said, but the bloc as a whole might miss its target.  The EU could also miss its target for improving energy efficiency, as only five member states have proposed "sufficient contributions."

Farming and climate Change

Germany's plan lacking in many areas

Germany, the EU's largest economy, was found to be lacking in its plans to cut emissions in transportation, buildings, agriculture, heating and cooling, the Commission said.

The Commission said that Germany's plan was unclear because the government developed an energy efficiency target for 2050, making it not impossible to assess the country's contribution to the 2030 energy efficiency target

"The draft plan also does not provide detailed information on policies and measures that go beyond those already existing," the Commission said.

Read more: A German village goes it alone on climate protection

On renewable energies, Germany had developed an ambitious target that went above what was required, the Commission said. However, Germany's draft plan does not adequately explain how the government intends to achieve these goals.

Green cities, better climate

Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic, said "no draft is perfect" but that he hoped the Commission's input would help in the formation of final national plans.

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Canete, said "in the final plans even more ambition is needed to set the EU on the right track in fighting climate change and modernizing our economy."

At an EU summit on Thursday and Friday, leaders will discuss setting the goal of net carbon neutrality for the bloc by 2050.

Read more: Net-zero by 2050: What does it mean? 

cw/aw (AFP, dpa)

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