Since the publication by the European Commission of its roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050, and subsequently its Energy roadmap 2050, there has been an increasing debate on which are the best policies to drive greenhouse gas reductions in the energy sector.

The European Commission is currently contemplating four possibilities on how to reach deeper carbon reductions after 2020 in the most cost- effective way, as indicated in the impact assessment of the latest communication on a Renewable Energy Strategy. Discussions about the preferred policy options will gain momentum in 2013, when the European Commission is planning to publish a proposal for an Energy and Climate policy framework for 2030.

For CAN Europe, clear binding national 2030 targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency, in addition to and separate from a greenhouse gas emission reduction target, is the only possible way forward to phase out emissions from the energy sector. These targets are needed if we do not wish to lock Europe into a high carbon energy infrastructure and continue to depend heavily on fuel imports.
In a position published in September 2012, CAN Europe provides the ingredients for a successful renewables 2030 policy. It outlines why not setting a binding renewable energy target for 2030 would have the negative effects described above in triggering investments in the power sector, a sector that will need to replace about 40% of the overall generation infrastructure in the next decade.