European Commission Communication on 2030 climate and energy goals

A 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 level and a binding target for renewable energy of 27% are the key figures of the Commission’s Communication setting out the 2030 energy framework that was released this week. The role of energy efficiency policies will be clarified when the commission publishes an Energy Efficiency Directive is published later this year.

In words of European Commission President Barroso: "Climate action is central for the future of our planet, while a truly European energy policy is key for our competitiveness. Today's package proves that tackling the two issues simultaneously is not contradictory, but mutually reinforcing."

The binding target for emissions reduction would be met through domestic measures alone and the attainment of the EU renewables target would be ensured by the new governance system based on national energy plans, but will not be translated into national targets through EU legislation, which gives Member States flexibility to adapt the energy system to their circumstances. Member States’ national energy plans will be prepared under the guidance of the Commission and will also cover energy efficiency.

Regarding the reform of EU ETS, the Commission proposes to establish a market stability reserve at the beginning of the next ETS trading period in 2021 to address the surplus of emission allowances and improve the system's resilience by automatically adjusting the supply of allowances to be auctioned.

Finally, the Commission has also proposed a set of key indicators to assess progress over time and to provide a factual base for potential policy response.

Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: "The 2030 framework is the EU's drive for progress towards a competitive low-carbon economy, investment stability and security of energy supply."

According to Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action: “A 40% emissions reduction is the most cost-effective target for the EU and it takes account of our global responsibility.”

The Communication setting out the 2030 framework has been released together with a Report on energy prices and costs, which compares EU prices with those of its main trading partners. The comparison with international partners highlights rising price differentials, notably with US gas prices.

Next steps:

  • February 2014: European parliament votes on its position on the commission's 2030 target proposal.
  • March 2014: Member state ministers and heads of state discuss the 2030 target in the EU Council
  • June 2014: Commission releases the energy efficiency directive
  • June 2014: Member states potentially meet again to discuss energy and climate issues