The Energy Ministers exchanged views on the needed economic transformation towards climate neutrality which is a major opportunity to reduce the use of fossil fuels and promote European leadership in developing and deploying sustainable technologies. The ministers acknowledged during today’s last ministerial meeting under the Croatian Presidency that the energy transition might slow down without adequate support. Further bilateral meetings will take place in the coming days to reach a compromise and adopt official conclusions.
With money from the EU budget and the newly created recovery fund expected to flow soon, Member States need to spell out climate compatible investments in their recovery plans, in the next 6-12 months. Governments have to get their priorities right and ensure there is no role for fossil fuels such as gas, nor for fossil-based hydrogen in the energy system of tomorrow. As evidenced by study after study, investing in the clean energy transition is also one of the best contributions the EU can make to the economic recovery as it has hugely positive impacts on employment, improves access to energy, reduces costly energy imports and prevents costly climate change impacts.
Given that two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are energy related, their drastic reduction is vital for the achievement of the Paris Agreement target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.
The Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Wendel TRIO commented: “we do now have the chance to win twice. Tackling the disruptions that currently come along with the COVID-19 crisis bears an opportunity to speed up the necessary change to Europe’s energy system. By coupling the energy transition with the recovery mechanisms and stimulus packages, we can speed up action and prevent dangerous climate change.”
“There’s a need and there’s an urgency. We need to remove all barriers to energy savings measures and further renewables deployment and we have to do that at an incredibly speedy pace. We cannot afford to replace dirty coal by dirty gas, a bridging fuel to nowhere,” concluded Wendel TRIO.
The 750 billion recovery package and the next EU budget offer ample opportunities for financing a whole range of critical energy infrastructure. Buildings renovations must be prioritised, while excluding fossil fuels subsidies and switching faster to renewables-based energy supply. It is indispensable to make the right investments today to speed up Europe’s transition towards 100% renewables by 2040 and ensure we reduce our emissions by 65%, compared with 1990 level, in this decade.
 European Commission’s PESETA model 2014: almost €200 billion additional climate damage if no action is undertaken to stop temperature rise by 3.5°C; European Environmental Agency 2020: €175 billion welfare loss per year with 3°C temperature rise
Cristina Dascalu, communications coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing over 1.500 NGOs and more than 47million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.