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EU Demands Stronger National Energy and Climate Plans from Member States to Meet 2030 Goals

EU Demands Stronger National Energy and Climate Plans from Member States to Meet 2030 Goals

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The Commission has published its assessment of EU Member States’ draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) and issued recommendations to assist Member States in raising their ambitions in line with EU targets for 2030. The final Plans must be submitted by 30 June 2024. The draft updated NECPs bring us closer to meeting the EU’s 2030 targets and to implementing recently agreed legislation. However, there is a clear need for extra efforts, also in light of the COP28 outcome and the global call to accelerate action this decade.

In this assessment, the Commission calls on Member States to enhance their efforts on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions and set out clearer plans on how they intend to adapt to climate change. It also invites them to better prepare for an increased uptake of renewables and enhance energy efficiency measures. Additional measures are also needed to empower consumers, improve energy security, and support European companies in strengthening their competitiveness. Greater efforts will be necessary to ensure access to available sources of funding and stimulate the crucial investments required for the competitiveness of European industry.

The Commission’s in-depth analysis is based on 21 NECPs which were submitted sufficiently in time, and completed with other available data. Three Member States submitted their draft Plans too late for a country-specific assessment by December, and three have still not submitted their draft Plan.

Key findings and recommendations

The NECPs set out each Member State’s roadmap to collectively meet the EU’s legally binding target of 55% GHG emission reductions by 2030, and its energy and climate objectives. Today’s EU-wide assessment is accompanied by a set of recommendations and individual assessments for each of the 21 Member States that submitted NECPs.

The Commission assessment finds that:

  • At this stage, draft NECPs are not yet sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030; current measures would lead to a reduction of 51%;
  • Further ambition is needed to close a gap of 6.2% in the effort sharing sectors compared to the 40% target;
  • There is a gap of around -40 to -50 MtCO2eq compared to the -310 MtCO2eq target under the LULUCF Regulation, showing an enhancement of the carbon sink is necessary;
  • For renewable energy, the current drafts would lead to a share of 38.6-39.3% of renewables in the energy mix by 2030, compared to the 42.5% target;
  • For energy efficiency, the current drafts would lead to 5.8% energy efficiency improvements, compared to the target of 11.7%.

The Commission also highlights the importance and urgency of phasing out the use of fossil fuels in energy generation, notably solid fossil fuels. In addition, the persistence of fossil fuel subsidies in all Member States, including in transport, is identified as another obstacle to the EU’s pathway towards climate neutrality. Subsidies which do not address energy poverty or the just transition need to be phased out as soon as possible and be directed instead to innovation and supporting vulnerable groups with the transition.

The Commission also encourages Member States to give more attention to energy security in their final NECPs and stresses the need to urgently boost the competitiveness of European clean energy value chains. Final NECPs should provide clarity and predictability for businesses and investors as well as facilitate planning for the use of public funds.  The Commission recommends Member States better plan how to diversify their energy supply in a competitive manner. Better anticipating the necessary structural changes in the energy system will enable consumers to benefit from a cost-effective and flexible energy market. More attention should also be paid to reskilling and upskilling as well as employment and social impacts and measures to ensure a green transition that is just, inclusive and leaves no one behind.

Related Article: Commission Welcomes Deal to Decarbonise EU Gas Markets and Promote Hydrogen

Significant further measures are also necessary to adapt to climate change and enhance resilience, including in the energy system. Final NECPs need to sufficiently address climate related impacts. The Commission made additional recommendations under the European Climate Law on the consistency of Member States’ measures with the Union’s climate-neutrality objective and with ensuring progress on adaptation.


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