A Scan of Critical World Developments
Last week, the European Commission unveiled its proposal for member states to improve their energy efficiency by 30% by 2030. The proposal aims to stimulate investment in energy-saving technologies, reduce energy costs, and contribute to climate mitigation. It would also bolster energy independence; according to the Commission, EU gas imports would fall by 2.6% for every 1% in energy savings. The proposal, however, lacks any enforcement mechanism for achieving its goal. After pressure from the United Kingdom, the Commission backed down from setting binding targets for each member state. Moreover, the goal itself lacks ambition; environmental groups like the European Alliance to Save Energy and Greenpeace had argued for a 40% target. EU leaders will make a final decision about the plan in their EU2030 policy summit in October, in which they will also address targets for emissions reduction and renewable energy. With the 2015 Paris climate conference on the horizon, the EU needs to set an example with bold and binding goals, rather than seek to appease narrow national and business interests with modest targets.