UK must not water down new climate targets after Brexit, Labour MEPs warn as EU agrees stronger Energy Union

A new agreement on the governance of the EU Energy Union, reached this week, will strengthen climate targets on renewables, efficiency and CO2 reduction, and seek to ensure greater access to secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy – targets the UK must not water down after Brexit, Labour MEPs warned.

Under the agreement, the European Commission will put forward a proposal to design a 2050 EU strategy for greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, taking account of two key criteria: the remaining “carbon budget” at global and EU level in order to keep global warming “well below 2°C” and close to 1.5°C; and scenarios for the EU’s contribution towards the objective of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 – where carbon emissions and removals would balance each other out – and negative emissions afterwards.

The governance regulation also sets a “trajectory” for EU countries’ contribution to meeting the EU-wide objective of 32 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Under the deal, EU countries will collectively have to achieve 18% of the EU-wide renewable energy objective by 2022, 43% by 2025, and 65% by 2027 before reaching 100% of the objective in 2030.

And, in the absence of national renewables and energy efficiency binding targets, EU countries will now be required to develop ten-year Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) aimed at fulfilling the EU 2030 energy and climate targets.

Theresa Griffin MEP, Socialists and Democrats Group negotiator on the governance of the Energy Union, said:

“This ambitious new agreement to strengthen the Energy Union will help the EU realise its goals of becoming a world leader on renewables, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction, providing a fair deal for consumers.

“This regulation is crucial to ensure a fair transition to a low-carbon economy, along with the Energy Efficiency and Renewables directives, where Labour MEPs and our Socialists and Democrats Group colleagues have played a leading role.

“More importantly, our group successfully pushed for specific measures to tackle energy poverty. The new regulation includes an obligation for EU countries to report on those who cannot afford to pay their energy bill, and the need to set an objective to reduce energy poverty in the national plan, if significant levels of energy poverty are detected.

“Reporting on Just Transition has also been secured in order to help vulnerable communities and workers transition to the low-carbon economy. In fact, the Paris Agreement requires national energy plans to include measures to ensure decent work, social inclusion and fighting poverty.

“For all these reasons, it is vital the UK seeks to remain within the Energy Union and does not water down the new climate targets and access to energy aims if it leaves the EU. Millions of people in Britain are already suffering from energy poverty – less efficient and secure energy coupled with higher energy bills will only worsen their situation.”

Seb Dance MEP, member of the European Parliament environment committee, added:

“Theresa and our other colleagues in the Socialists and Democrats Group have done a fantastic job of steering the energy governance package to a position that will help bring us closer in line with the international promises made by the EU in Paris at the UN’s climate conference.

“Along with the recently agreed energy efficiency and renewables packages, the governance measures will ensure that our goals and schedules align with our international commitments.

“As the US shrinks back from the responsibilities and opportunities that the climate accord presents, the EU is continuing to show true climate leadership, and listen to the demands of its citizens for cleaner, cheaper, climate friendly energy.”