In the first test for Europe’s energy policy since the Paris climate summit, the EU Commission is accused of being ‘blind to renewables’ after it, today, released an energy security proposal which could lock Europe into decades of fossil fuel use.
Ignoring falling demand for gas, and the role of renewable energy and energy efficiency in decarbonising the economy and securing supply, this release continues to shackle Europe to gas projects that could be rendered worthless in a carbon-constrained world.
As the EU takes stock of what the Paris climate agreement means for Europe, pressure is on for it to live up to the ambitious promises delivered in the French capital by strengthening its 2030 target and putting in place robust criteria for moving away from fossil fuels – including gas – and towards a 100 per cent renewable future.
- Europe’s gas demand is falling, risking billions in stranded assets. The Commission’s persistent overestimation of gas demand has already attracted the attention of the EU court of Auditors, with it expected to fall even further with increased renewables and efficiency measures. As Europe – and the rest of the world – pursues ‘efforts to limit global warming to 1.5DegC,’ continuing to invest in gas couldlock in billions of dollars of projects that are surplus to requirements.
- A push for gas is inconceivable in a post-Paris world. The EU fought for meaningful climate action in Paris, and has high ambitions to be a “climate leader” and the “world number one in renewable energies”. Increasing renewables is essential to putting the “Paris climate goals within reach,” and the faster Europe severs its ties fossil fuels – including gas – the sooner it can embrace a fully renewable future.
- Europe could reap the rewards of renewables, but a clear energy roadmap is crucial. Once a front-runner on renewables, recent policy decisions have left clean energy investment falling, and the continent is at risk of being stuck with dirty energy. By setting clear steps to move towards a renewable and energy efficient world, Europe could secure energy supply, encourage huge clean energy investment and reap the climate, economic and health benefits.