Seething members of the green energy industry today bashed the EU’s “weak” target for bringing in renewable energy across the continent.
The Commission proposed a target of 27% – rather than 30% – for renewables but fine print suggests this may not be made legally binding.
Thomas Becker, Chief Executive of the European Wind Energy Association said: “The previously far-sighted and ambitious European Commission is a shadow of its former self, hiding behind the UK and other backward-looking Member States and lobbies.”
The poverty charity Oxfam worried the Commission is “gambling with our future”.
Lies Craeynest, Oxfam’s EU climate change expert said: “The proposed 40% target would scupper any hopes of keeping temperatures below the 2 degree danger level. With such lamentably low ambition, the Commission is dramatically increasing the odds of a future global food crisis.”
Environmental group WWF also said it was disappointed by “low climate ambitions”.
Ed Davey, UK Energy Secretary described the plans overall as a “step in the right direction” but added: “The UK remains concerned about any renewables target especially as the debate within Parliament and the British green movement has moved on to technology neutral options like a decarbonisation target as the most cost effective and practical way of fighting climate change.”
Industry was far more receptive to the plans. Gareth Stace, Head of Climate & Environment Policy at manufacturers’ body EEF said: “It is promising to see the European Commission starting to place climate change policy and industrial competitiveness side by side”.
Analysts noted a mixed blessing in the EU’s Energy White Paper.
Ben Warren, Environmental Finance Leader at EY said: “At a time when green energy policy appears to be under fire in some quarters, the EU’s reaffirmed commitment towards emissions reductions and a binding renewables target are a welcome sign. Whether these new targets are backed up by member states taking more immediate positive action remains to be seen.”