With the Paris Climate Agreement now in force, international momentum to make the climate commitments it contains a reality must now be channelled into action – and the EU intends to spearhead progress.
Speaking at the COP22 climate summit in Marrakesh, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, said that it is now clear that the global transition towards a low-carbon and sustainable world is here to stay. But he warned that the achievements of the last year cannot be a short-lived success.
“We need to do more and go much further if we want to keep global warming well below 2°C and avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. The EU’s ambition is to be in the driving seat of the clean energy transition, but we know that leadership must be followed by concrete actions. Later this month we will be launching our Smart and Clean Energy Package to put energy efficiency first, make the EU number one in renewables and to do so in a cost-effective way that delivers a fair deal to consumers,” Arias Cañete said.
The package of measures expected late November will cover energy efficiency, renewables, a new electricity market design, and ways to boost consumer involvement in the energy transition.
Energy efficiency measures have proven to be highly successful: for every 1% improvement in energy efficiency EU gas imports fall by 2.6%. Moreover, in 2015, the EU saved $27 billion in energy imports thanks to energy efficiency.
Measures will focus on the sectors with the biggest potential – including the building sector which accounts for some 40% of the EU’s energy consumption. For example, the EU will aim to boost energy efficient building renovation rates and launch financing instruments like Smart Financing for Buildings.
The Smart and Clean Energy Package will also seek to further entrench the power of renewables in the energy system. The EU is already the world’s number one in renewable energy capacity per capita with 0.79 GW of renewables for every 1 million citizens in the EU. It will include initiatives on how to make it easier for consumers to produce their own renewable energy and use it themselves, store it or sell it back to the grid. And, it will focus on fostering more competition in the retail market and promoting a flexible and well connected electricity market.
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