Fury as EU “turns back” on renewable jobs

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 […]

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By Vicky Ellis

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.”