PU Europe: Let’s do the obvious and build the EU’s post 2020 climate and energy policy on energy efficiency

Almost everybody agrees: energy efficiency offers the most cost-effective solution to meet Europe’s climate and energy targets while boosting competitiveness, growth and jobs and increasing supply security. Still, when it comes to defining policy targets and measures, ambitions suddenly begin to drop.

The Commission proposals for the EU’s future climate and energy policies, expected towards the end of 2013, might just confirm this theory. The consultation on the related Commission Green Paper will yet again highlight the benefits of energy efficiency. The Commission is however unlikely to propose a clear energy efficiency target and most Member States are reluctant to support it. Only the European Parliament seems to fully grasp the opportunities of energy efficiency.

Oliver Loebel, Managing Director of PU Europe stated, “We firmly believe that the EU’s long-term climate and energy policy should be built around a binding energy efficiency target for 2030. This target should be defined in a bottom-up approach by determining the cost-effective saving potentials of buildings, transport, industry, agriculture and energy supply. If designed wisely, for example industry contributions are expressed in terms of energy intensity, such a target would clearly stimulate sustainable growth.”

The energy efficiency target would ensure that all parts of society are included in this process. The greenhouse gas emission reductions from energy efficiency gains, complemented by those from renewable energy sources would then feed-into the overall emission reduction target. This process would ensure that all targets are meaningful and mutually reinforcing.

Within the overall energy efficiency target, a binding sectoral target for buildings is of paramount importance to provide a long-term vision to the market and increase investor confidence.

“Evidence suggests that buildings offer the largest cost-effective savings potential of all sectors. The energy demand of existing buildings can be reduced by 80 % with products and technologies available today. However, due to persisting market failures, even cost-effective measures are not taken up systematically. Unleashing this potential will benefit the whole society”, Loebel concluded.

The PU Europe response to the Commission Green Paper is available here.

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