The European Commission recently presented its proposals for post-2020 climate and energy policies. It is now up to Parliament and Member States to reach an agreement.
The current “20-20-20” targets focus on decarbonisation through the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the deployment of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures.
The global context for energy and climate policies has changed since these targets were adopted in 2008. The economic crisis has prompted concerns about the impact of energy prices on households and on industrial competitiveness. The shale gas revolution, made possible by hydraulic fracturing technology, has helped the US reduce its energy imports and brought down energy prices. Global emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise while an international climate agreement is being negotiated.
The European Commission has proposed a 40% target for GHG reductions by 2030 and a 27% target for the market share of renewable energy sources, but as yet no new target for energy efficiency. The European Parliament supports three binding targets for 2030: a 40% reduction in GHG emissions, at least 30% renewable energy sources and a 40% target for energy efficiency. Member States and stakeholders are divided over the appropriate level of ambition and over the need for binding targets for renewables and energy efficiency.