Labour MEPs: UK must not ditch new efficiency and renewables targets that will lift millions out of energy poverty

Britain must not ditch new EU targets on energy efficiency and renewables that will lift millions of people out of energy poverty, Labour MEPs warned as the European Parliament backed the new measures today.

By 2030, EU countries will have to draw 32 per cent of their energy from renewable sources, and cut energy consumption by 32.5 per cent. National governments will now have to devise implementable strategies to meet these new targets, targets that will help the EU reach its Paris Climate Agreement goals and are crucial for the competitiveness of Europe’s industries and for long-term economic growth and future job creation.

Labour MEPs, with the Socialists and Democrats Group, worked hard to include these ambitious goals and targets in the clean energy package, including energy poverty indicators and guidelines for EU countries to follow when reporting.

Theresa Griffin MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on energy, said:

“These targets must apply not only across the rest of the EU, but in Britain. The need for the UK to tackle our climate change commitments cannot and must not be a victim of Brexit. These targets must be seen as a bare minimum, not as aspirational. The UK must commit to meeting these targets as part of the Brexit negotiations and must remain an active member of the Internal Energy Market.

“Energy efficiency is a fundamental part of the transition to a sustainable future and is vital to achieving our Paris goals. It is crucial for the competitiveness of our industries, for future economic growth and for job creation. Improved energy efficiency targets will secure a better quality of life for those who already experience or are at risk of energy poverty.

“For every one per cent improvement in energy efficiency, three million homes can be properly renovated and seven million people lifted out of energy poverty. People are dying of cold because they are forced to choose between heating and eating – we cannot allow this to continue, and these new targets will ensure those who are suffering get the help they need.

“All EU countries must fulfil their targets and promises – for the first time tackling energy poverty is enshrined in EU legislation, and the UK must adhere to this. We can no longer delay action – Europe needs to be a real world leader in combating climate change, for the sake of our planet and our children’s futures.”

Theresa Griffin MEP added:

“Our work means we will be able to integrate renewables further into our energy mix as well as phase out high-polluting biofuels and increase industry’s investment in innovative technologies, while supporting self-generation among consumers and local renewable energy communities.

“While our implementation of the governance of the Energy Union will ensure planning, reporting and monitoring obligations of EU energy and climate legislation are all brought together in one document, in order to make compliance with these goals easier. This is essential as all EU countries must work together to achieve our Paris targets.

“The legislation creates a platform to engage all stakeholders in the Energy Union, crucially including consumers and local authorities. It includes energy poverty indicators and guidelines for national governments to follow when reporting.

“And ‘Just Transition’ has been included to ensure retraining and funding is available for workers in traditional industries in advance of these industries changing. It is critical we also train our young people for these emerging green growth jobs.”