EU renewables deal will hurt climate and forests

Posted on June, 14 2018

A low 32% renewables target; biomass rules that will increase emissions
Brussels, Belgium - 13 June 2018

EU decision-makers reached agreement in the middle of the night on an unambitious Renewable Energy Directive with rules on bioenergy that put both the climate and forests worldwide at risk. They adopted a low, 32% renewables target that is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C, and bioenergy rules that will allow ever more trees and crops to be burnt for energy, increasing greenhouse gas emissions even more than fossil fuels would do.

Yesterday, decision-makers failed to reach agreement on the Energy Efficiency Directive, with the European Parliament’s position remaining more progressive than that of the EU Council.  In the next talks the Council should be ready to move forward and accept a higher binding energy efficiency target and a more effective annual energy savings rule.

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office said:
“Going for a renewables target that is barely above business-as-usual is a spectacular failure by the EU. It will undermine jobs, the economy and the climate in one fell swoop. Renewables will continue to gain market share because they make economic sense, but the EU has missed its chance to boost them further through a strong and binding target, and reap the benefits for its citizens and industry.

“And the elephant in the room when it comes to the Renewable Energy Directive is bioenergy”, continued Lübbeke. “Despite valiant efforts by the Parliament’s Green Rapporteur Bas Eickhout, the EU has adopted rules on biofuels and forest biomass that will likely increase emissions compared to fossil fuels and so make climate change worse. In doing so, EU policy makers have disregarded science and set a terrible example to the rest of the world. They should hang their heads in shame at this disgraceful decision, which WWF believes will in time have to be reversed.”

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,, +32 494 762 763
Sarah Azau, Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office,, +32 473 573 137
Flooded areas of the Dongting Lake, Hunan Province, China.
© Michel Gunther / WWF