EU sets 32% renewable target for 2030
The European Union agreed yesterday (Thursday) to boost the share of renewable-energy contribution to 32 per cent by 2030 after Germany vetoed moves for a 35-per-cent target.
“This deal is a hard-won victory in our efforts to unlock the true potential of Europe’s clean energy transition,” tweeted EU commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.
The European Council, representing member states, also agreed to phase out the use of palm oil by 2030 and ease regulations on community projects to generate renewable power.
The European Parliament and some member states, including the new governments in Italy and Spain, had called for a renewable target of 35 per cent.
Environmental group Greenpeace said the deal could lead to millions more solar panels on European rooftops as it made it easier for grassroots initiatives to contribute to the move towards renewables.
“But the renewables target of 32 per cent is far too low and allows power companies to cling on to fossil fuels and false solutions,” Greenpeace’s Sebastian Mang announced.
Other groups said 32 per cent was too low because member states were already on track to exceed it.
Molly Walsh of Friends of the Earth Europe told the media: “EU decision makers have agreed a paltry 32-per-cent target for renewable energy that is inadequate for a climate-safe, fossil-free future, and shows a failure to grasp a shifting energy landscape, including rapidly falling renewables costs.”
German finance and energy minister Peter Altmaier rejected the higher target of 35 per cent and was pushing for 30 per cent. Germany, which still depends heavily on coal to meet its electricity demands, this week conceded that it would not meet its 2020 renewable targets.
The Christian Democrat Union minister said this week that setting targets without a strategy for implementing them across the EU undermined the bloc’s credibility in the eyes of the electorate.
The EU “trialogue” of its three major branches also agreed that at least 14 per cent of fuel for transport must come from renewables by 2030.
Activists added that the target could be extended in 2023. “The agreed 2030 binding target of 32 per cent should be seen as a starting line for the race to greater ambition,” said Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network Europe.
Under the 2016 Paris climate agreement, Brussels is trying to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 from 1990 levels.
Renewable costs are falling while efficiency is rising. Picture credit: Wikimedia