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    Almut Bonhage

    Energy efficiency now instead of waiting for the green gas

    150 150 Almut Bonhage

    Energy efficiency now instead of waiting for the green gas, says a group of leading scientists in Germany. They counter suggestions that a switch to green gas would be easy and could replace building renovation and investments in more efficient mobility and industrial production.

    Germany is set to fail its 2020 energy efficiency, only reaching it with a ten year delay. As a consequence it is falling short of climate targets and has to pay hefty fines. So far the government has not managed to step up energy efficiency actions and seems to talk up the opportunities of gas in the hope that one day it will be green. 
    According to the scientists green gas is more likely a nice technology, too expensive for everyday use and lacking adequate production capacities, which means that most green gas would need to be imported

    Expertendossier: EffizienteEnergiewendejetzt statt warten auf das grüne Gas (only in German)

    Deneff press release (in German)

    Commission requests correct transposition of energy efficiency law

    150 150 Almut Bonhage

    The European Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom requesting the correct transposition of EU energy efficiency rules (Energy Efficiency Directive, Directive 2012/27/EU) into national law and its proper implementation.

    The Member States concerned now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the EU.

    more information

    Commission President-elect: bold on ambition and style, short on details

    150 150 Almut Bonhage

    A first check of Ursula von der Leyen’s agenda against the Coalition for Energy Savings’ recommendations for a fast, fair and attractive transition.

    By Stefan Scheuer, Secretary General of the Coalition for Energy Savings

    Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen wants a new working style: she announces a more inclusive and open approach and intends to give the Parliament the right to initiate legislation. Next to gender balance, she made climate protection her central campaign element and committed to bold pledges in an effort to secure her election. Within her fist 100 days in office she promises to propose a European Green Deal including a law to enshrine 2050 climate neutrality. Climate has never been as high on the Commission agenda. This provides an important opportunity for energy efficiency policies.

    Von der Leyen also pledges to increase the 2030 targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction to 50%. As it stands, energy efficiency and renewables targets only get us to at least 46% in 2030. An increased ambition for GHG emissions reduction means to raise the current minimum 32.5% energy efficiency target towards the cost-effective potential, which stands at 40%.

    But how will the new Commission President-elect deliver action on the ground in light of the 2020 energy efficiency target gap and the far too slow progress on energy efficiency?

    First of all, von der Leyen’s agenda includes a promise to use the EU’s budget to support the rule of law. This could provide a key tool to ensure the proper implementation and enforcement of existing EU energy and climate laws.

    Further, she plans to step up pricing signals, as she believes that “carbon emissions must have a price. Every person and every sector will have to contribute”. Concretely, she suggests to extend the EU-ETS to the maritime sector but also to ‘traffic’ and ‘construction’ and to introduce a carbon border tax to prevent carbon leakage. While price signals do help improve energy efficiency, they are on their own insufficient when the main market failures are non-economic, like in the case of building renovations. Complementary measures are needed like financial support mechanisms, which could be funded through carbon revenues, and efficiency regulations. Further, an ETS extension has been discussed many times but was never found to be practicable or feasible. The proposal might turn out to be a smokescreen or, as Juncker’s proposal for qualified majority voting on CO2 taxes, not accepted by Member States who then will be blamed for the failure.

    Important for delivery on the ground will be her proposals for a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan. They include to turn a part of the EIB into a Climate Bank supporting one trillion euro investments by 2030. This has to be put into the perspective of the 2.6 trillion Euro additional investment needed to achieve the current 2030 targets, according to a recent Commission’s modelling. Missing from her plan is an approach how to avoid detrimental investments and how to use the MFF and Member States’ public funding to attract private financing. These are key questions in order to close the investment gaps in each sector and, in particular, the gaps in NECPs and long-term renovation strategies.

    In addition, her industrial strategy lacks content. It should support renovation solutions and earmark enough money for technical assistance and for the origination of bottom-up projects, in line with von der Leyen’s priority of a “new push for European democracy” (bringing the Union closer to citizens).

    Coalition for Energ Savings: EU priority actions 2019-2024 for a fast, fair and attractive transition

    President-elect Ursula von der Leyen: Towards a new commission 2019-2024

    Member of EEB board

    395 299 Almut Bonhage

    Stefan Scheuer is a member of the board of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

    Consisting of some 30 national members, up to 10 European network representatives and up to three other individuals, the full Board meets three to four times a year to provide oversight and direction in between the meetings of the General Assembly.

    In the EEB board, Stefan Scheuer represents ChemSec – International Chemical Secretariat.

    EEB website

    EEB board members

    Member of ECHA board

    512 131 Almut Bonhage

    Stefan Scheuer is member of the management board of ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency. His mandate is to represent environmental and consumer interests (2015 – 2019).

    Website ECHA

    U.K. parliamentary committee calls for urgent action on energy efficiency

    150 150 Almut Bonhage

    The UK stands no chance of meeting its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets unless the Government takes urgent action to revive its failing energy efficiency policy.

    A report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee states that improving the energy efficiency of buildings will be vital to meeting climate change obligations, eradicating fuel poverty and lowering home energy bills.

    Public investment in the U.K. has shrunk, and the rate of installations has gone backwards – with insulation measures installed in houses under Government schemes now around 95 per cent lower than in 2012.

    The report also calls for more robust building regulations, finding that builders are currently able to exploit loopholes and build homes to outdated standards.

    Read the report

    IEA sets global high-level commission for urgent action on energy efficiency

    150 150 Almut Bonhage

    The International Energy Agency has established an independent high-level global commission to examine how progress on energy efficiency can be rapidly accelerated through new and stronger policy action.

    Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland will be the honorary chair of the IEA Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency, composed of government ministers, top business executives and thought leaders from around the world.

    more information

    New Commission modelling on 32.5% energy efficiency

    150 150 Almut Bonhage

    In order to estimate the impact of the EU’s climate and energy targets for 2030, the Commission has developed a group of scenarios called the EUCO scenarios.

    The most recent, the EUCO3232.5 scenario, models the impact of achieving an energy efficiency target of 32.5% and a renewable energy target of 32%, as agreed in the Clean energy for all Europeans package.

    This scenario was used to support the Commission’s June 2019 assessment of the draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), submitted by Member States.

    read more

    Netherlands examines new measures to boost climate action

    150 150 Almut Bonhage

    The Netherlands’ Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Eric Wiebes, sent a National Climate Agreement to the Parliament outlining how the Netherlands will have reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by half in 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

    Letter to Parliament (English)

    Measures (Dutch)

    Future priorities for EU research and innovation funding up for consultation

    150 150 Almut Bonhage

    The European Commission is preparing the implementation of Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027). The proposed budget is €100 billion. An online consultation has been launched.

    The consultation will collect input which will inform the work to prepare a ‘Strategic Plan’ for Horizon Europe, which will then guide the work programmes and calls for proposals for Horizon Europe’s first four years (2021-2024).

    The consultation will close on 8 September 2019.

    More information here

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