Climate & Energy Goals for 2030

With a framework for climate and energy policy until 2020 in place, the European Commission is now looking to achieve to an early agreement on a 2030 framework.

This, says the Commission, will give investors more certainty about future objectives and policies – thus creating more demand for efficient and low carbon technologies, spurring research and innovation, and creating new opportunities for jobs and growth.

The Commission also wants a clear framework in order to provide the EU with a solid position when engaging in international negotiations on climate change, which are expected by the end of 2015.

To launch the process, the Commission has put a series of questions to stakeholders in a public consultation which will run until 2 July this year.

The Commission believes that the experience and views of stakeholders, backed up where possible with sound evidence, are essential on four broad issues: targets, other policy instruments, competiveness, and the different capacity of Member States to act.

Context

The Commission believes that the 2030 framework should build on the experience and lessons from the 2020 framework. The 2020 framework integrated different policy objectives delivered by three headline targets: 
• An EU-based target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions of 20% relative to emissions in 1990
• 20% share for renewable energy sources in the energy consumed in the EU with specific target for the Member States
• 20% savings in energy consumption compared to projections
In addition, specific 2020 targets for renewable energy for the transport sector (10%) and decarbonisation of transport fuels (6%) were set.

The framework for 2020 was complemented by the Energy 2020 Strategy, which aims to assess the challenges and measures to ensure a competitive, sustainable and secure energy system.

Consultation Targets

The Commission is looking into the adequacy of establishing new targets on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, renewable energies and energy efficiency. It is therefore asking about the most effective targets in driving the objectives of climate and energy policy.

Based on some stakeholder criticism, the Commission is asking for feedback on how to ensure the coherence of potential 2030 targets, reflecting better the economic viability and the changing degree of maturity of technologies.

The Commission aims to establish a framework to ensure greater competitiveness and security of energy supply, and wants to know how progress should be assessed for different aspects of EU energy policy, which may not be captured by the existing headline targets.

The Commission is considering at what level the targets should apply: EU, Member State or sectoral, considering the possibility of establishing sub-targets for specific sub-sectors such as transport, agriculture or industry. The Commission also wants to know to what extent the targets should be legally binding.

Coherence of Policy Instruments

The 2020 targets are being implemented through a number of different policy instruments at EU level. Member States have larger room for manoeuvre when implementing certain EU legislation, as for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and GHG emissions outside the ETS such as in the road transport sector.

The Commission wants to know if changes are necessary to other policy instruments and how they interact with one another, including between the EU and national levels.

Some stakeholders are concerned about the lack of overall consistency between policies, and the need to improve the cost-efficiency of various climate and energy measures. The Commission is asking for feedback on how to define specific measures at EU and national level in order to optimise cost-efficiency in meeting climate and energy objectives.

Beyond regulatory instruments, the EU provides significant financial support linked to climate change and sustainable energy. Climate action objectives will represent at least 20% of EU spending in the period 2014-2020. The Commission is considering how to make climate action objectives reflected in the appropriate instruments to ensure that they contribute to strengthen energy security, building a low-carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient economy that will enhance Europe's competitiveness and create more and greener jobs.

The Commission is therefore interested in how to make EU research and innovation policies best support the achievement of the 2030 framework.

EU Competitiveness

One of the fundamental objectives of EU energy policy is to ensure that the energy system contributes to the competitiveness of the EU economy, by ensuring competitive domestic and international energy markets and prices which are internationally competitive and represent affordable energy for final consumers.

While wholesale energy prices have increased moderately in the EU, there is evidence that end-user prices of electricity for many business and households have increased more significantly in real terms over the last decade.

The Commission wants to know about which elements of the framework could be strengthened to better promote job creation, growth and competitiveness. The Commission also analyses the drivers in observed trends in energy costs and wants to know to what extent the EU can influence them.

One of the objectives of the Commission is to keep prices in check and help meet targets cost-effectively, both by means of increased competition in the market and by more efficient use of energy infrastructure. Further diversification of energy supply routes could improve competition on energy markets and significant long-term savings could be achieved by investments in energy efficiency.

The Commission is therefore asking for feedback on how to improve security of energy supply internally by ensuring the full and effective functioning of the internal energy market (e.g. through the development of necessary interconnections), and externally by diversifying energy supply routes.

The EU’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 20% by 2020 has contributed to the progress made since the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference. Several countries are implementing or developing legislation for their own emissions trading system. However, concern has been expressed that the EU's commitment to tackling climate change is not fully reciprocated elsewhere, and that this has an impact on competitiveness.

The Commission wants to know how uncertainty about the efforts and the level of commitment of other economically important countries in international negotiations can be taken into account. The Commission also wants to know how to increase regulatory certainty while providing flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances (e.g. progress in international climate negotiations and changes in energy markets).

The Commission is considering how to exploit the development of indigenous conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources within the EU to contribute to reduced energy prices and import dependency. It is also considering using the revenues from the auctioning of allowances (ETS related revenue) to increase the innovation capacity of manufacturing industry.

Member States

Member States are diverse in terms of comparative wealth, industrial structure, energy mix, building stocks, carbon and energy intensity, exploitable renewable resources, and social structure. The current energy and climate policy framework reflects these differing capacities, and the new policy framework for 2030 must take them into account too. The Commission is asking how an equitable distribution of effort among Member States can be ensured, and what concrete steps should be taken to reflect their different abilities.

The Renewable Energy Directive includes cooperation mechanisms that enable renewable energy produced in one Member State to count towards the target of another. However, with the exception of Sweden and Norway, those mechanisms have not been used so far. The Commission is considering the inclusion of other mechanisms to promote cooperation and a fair effort sharing.

Member States face difficulties in obtaining sufficient support for changes of industrial processes and energy use. There are already tools to access finance for investments, be it through direct funding or smart finance, but the Commission wants to know if new financing instruments should be provided.

Next Steps

On the basis of the views expressed by Member States, EU institutions and stakeholders, the Commission intends to table the EU's 2030 framework for climate and energy policies by the end of this year.