Boosted energy efficiency target still falls short of Paris Agreement

Posted on 19 June 2018    
UN Secretary General speaking at the UN about the Paris Agreement ratification.
© UN Photo
Brussels, Belgium - 19 June 2018

EU decision-makers reached agreement this evening on a 32.5% target for energy savings by 2030. This is higher than the European Commission’s original proposal, but lower than the 35% European Parliament wanted and considerably less than what is required to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals.

Several Energy Ministers, including from France, Italy, Spain and Sweden supported a higher energy efficiency target at their recent meeting, but unfortunately this was not enough for it to become the EU Council's official position. The target can be revised in 2023.

The target is non-binding, contrary to what was proposed by the European Commission and supported by the European Parliament.

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office said:
“This low, non-binding 2030 energy efficiency target will go down in the history books as a missed opportunity, despite the best efforts of the European Parliament and several progressive Member States. It puts the EU far off course in terms of the Paris Agreement, climate action, cleaner air and better jobs.”

EU decision-makers also reviewed the rule that sets a compulsory level of annual energy savings, but barely increased its ambition. The current rule requires Member States to deliver 1.5% energy savings each year, but because of loopholes such as it not being compulsory to include energy used in transport, it only delivers half of that. The deal reached tonight keeps the existing loopholes and clarifies that with them, the real rate of energy savings Member States will have to deliver is 0.8%.

“What’s more, despite the clear need for faster emissions reductions, the energy savings rule is basically the same as before. It’s another wasted chance to boost climate action, since the rule is binding and so Member States have to deliver on it,” added Lübbeke.

This evening there is another trilogue discussion on the Energy Union governance regulation, which sets the rules and framework for how countries meet their renewables and energy efficiency targets, including on a possible net zero emissions target for 2050. Last week, EU decision-makers agreed on a low, 32% renewables target for 2030 and weak bioenergy rules which will allow ever more trees and crops to be burnt for energy, increasing greenhouse gas emissions even more than fossil fuels would do.

Arianna Vitali, Senior Policy Officer (energy efficiency), WWF European Policy Office,, +32 2 743 88 16
Alex Mason, Senior Policy Officer (renewables and governance), WWF European Policy Office,, +32494762763
Sarah Azau, Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office,, +32 473 573 137
UN Secretary General speaking at the UN about the Paris Agreement ratification.
© UN Photo Enlarge

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