Brussels, March 27 – EU officials today published details of their planned approach to climate and energy policy until 2030. Friends of the Earth Europe has described the plans as ‘dangerously inadequate’ and particularly criticised the lack of legally binding targets to encourage more energy from renewables and more energy savings.
The European Commission’s strategy paper  indicates the executive’s clear support for a legally binding target for reducing EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
But similar support for ensuring high levels of renewable energies and energy efficiency is missing. This is despite the Commission’s own analysis showing the development of renewables and the reduction of overall energy use are vital to delivering emissions cuts. 
The paper also talks about action to cut emissions needing to be balanced against the impacts on competitiveness. Friends of the Earth Europe believes these concerns are exaggerated or unfounded: a February 2013 report by research group Ecofys estimates the net benefits of a 35% reduction in energy use by 2030 at €250 billion per year – comparable to the GDP of Denmark. 
Brook Riley, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “The Commission’s main message seems to be that climate action needs to be done in spite of the economy. But energy savings and renewables in particular will help cut energy costs and create jobs, as well as being the best way to get Europe on track to reduce emissions and avoid the most devastating consequences of climate change.
“This half-hearted plan for 2030 climate and energy policy will in effect maintain Europe’s dependence on imports of polluting fossil fuels which drain the economy to the tune of €400 billion per year and stop us from making the transition to the clean energy system we urgently need.”
The EU Commission’s strategy paper is accompanied by a public consultation on 2030 policies, which will last until June. The Commission is expected to seek agreement from national governments for a 2030 legislative proposal in 2014.
Friends of the Earth Europe believe that to be serious about tackling climate change, Europe needs to specify how emission cuts will happen. That’s why it is calling for three ambitious and binding targets for 2030 to cut greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and develop renewable energies. 
Friends of the Earth Europe also believes it is crucial to include citizens in decisions about energy in the future. Renewable energy projects should involve local people in their planning processes, offer them the opportunity to invest, and guarantee that the local community shares in the benefits.
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Notes: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/consultations/doc/com_2013_0169_green_paper_2030_en.pdf  European Commission: ‘Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050’ and ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’, March 2011. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2011:0112:FIN:EN:PDF  Ecofys, ‘Saving Energy: bringing down Europe’s energy prices for 2020 and beyond’, February 2013.  http://www.foeeurope.org/2030-climate-plan