IEA Energy Policy Review: EU energy policy needs teeth to limit temperature increase to 1.5°

Energy transition

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that the European Union should align its short-term recovery objectives with the long-term climate goal by investing in energy efficiency and clean energy infrastructure to see greenhouse gas emissions further decline. These are some of the key recommendations put forward in IEA’s quinquennial report “European Union 2020 – Energy Policy Review” issued this morning.

“The EU’s impressive track record of decarbonising power systems through renewable energy technologies, notably offshore wind but also solar PV, offers an inspiring example for many economies around the world. It also provides a sound basis for the broader decarbonisation of Europe’s economy in the longer term,” the IEA report continues.

As the energy sector – production and use – accounts for 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions[1], their drastic reduction is vital for the achievement of the Paris Agreement target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C. Stronger policies than those currently in place will be needed to deliver on this ambition.

The Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Wendel TRIO said: “This report restates the need to put the European Green Deal at the heart of the economic recovery and shows that Europe can and should be more ambitious and go for a transformational change that will ensure clean, secure and affordable energy to all Europeans. There are ample opportunities for Europe to reduce energy consumption and increase investments in renewable energy sources. To ensure governments and companies make use of these opportunities we need to strengthen EU energy policies and targets, starting with an increase of the 2030 climate target, to be agreed within the next six months”.

The 750 billion recovery package and the next EU budget offer ample opportunities for financing a whole range of critical sustainable energy infrastructure and align the immediate with the long-term gains. Buildings renovations must be prioritised, while excluding fossil fuels subsidies and switching faster to renewables-based energy supply. We need to speed up Europe’s transition towards 100% renewables by 2040 and ensure we reduce our emissions by at least 65%, compared with 1990 level, in this decade. Investing in the clean energy transition is also one of the best contributions the EU can make to the economic recovery.

“The sooner we understand that fossil gas is a bridge to nowhere, the faster we will get to a carbon-free Europe and avoid useless and costly detours. Energy efficiency and a 100% renewable energy supply should be the two main pillars of our future energy system. Let’s get our priorities right and put all the chances on our side to avoid dangerous climate change impacts”, added Wendel TRIO.


This 300 pages review of the EU energy and climate policies by the International Energy Agency assesses progress made over the past five years and reviews opportunities for boosting energy-sector action in the context of the EU economic recovery and climate neutrality.

In 2019, the EU proposed the European Green Deal (EGD), a set of 50 actions for the coming five years across all sectors to prepare the EU economy for climate neutrality by 2050. In December 2019, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal (EGD), which aims at making Europe a climate-neutral continent by 2050. This goal is to be enshrined in the European Climate Law, which was proposed in March 2020. Work is underway for a planned increase in the 2030 GHG emissions reduction target to at least 50% and towards 55%, which would be followed by legislation.



Cristina Dascalu, communications coordinator,

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.


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