September 20, 2021

high energy prices must speed up transition

The present worth hike within the European energy sector exhibits the necessity to scale back the EU’s dependency on imported fossil fuels and speed up the transition to inexperienced energy, EU’s local weather chief Frans Timmermans informed MEPs on Tuesday (14 September).

Gasoline and electrical energy prices have risen to historic ranges throughout EU member states within the final month – with carbon prices reaching a document high of greater than €60-per-tonne final week.

High energy payments are already affecting companies and households throughout the bloc, however solely about 20 p.c of the worth improve may be attributed to the CO2 prices rising, Timmermans mentioned – noting that prices for renewables have remained low and steady.

“One thing we cannot afford is for the social side to be opposed to the climate side,” he warned, arguing that it is a “threat” that has develop into clear within the dialogue concerning the worth hike within the energy sector.

“We have to be very clear on one thing: whatever measure you take, it will have a price effect. But the art of politics will be to ensure that the price effect does not affect the most vulnerable,” he added.

Underneath the Inexperienced Deal, the EU goals to scale back carbon emissions by 55 p.c by 2030 (in comparison with 1990) to achieve local weather neutrality by 2050 – with a fancy vary of insurance policies, from rising renewables energy use and banning combustion engines from 2035, to establishing a carbon border tax.

“Had we had the Green Deal five years earlier, we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependence on fossil fuels and natural gas,” Timmermans mentioned.

Timmermans spoke through the debate within the European Parliament, focussed on the so-called ‘Match-for-55’ package deal – the mammoth package deal of 12 legislative proposals offered by the fee earlier this yr.

The EU’s local weather chief rejected the concept of focusing the political discourse on the price of the transition whereas avoiding speaking about the associated fee, in financial and human phrases, of pure disasters, reminiscent of floods seen this summer season in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy and Romania.

ETS extension underneath fireplace

Nevertheless, many MEPs raised considerations concerning the social implications of sure local weather insurance policies, particularly these geared toward lowering the environmental footprint from automobiles and buildings – two sectors which have seen emissions improve steadily over the past years.

Increasing the Emissions Buying and selling System (ETS) to incorporate street transport and the heating of buildings is seen by many as a dangerous measure because it may doubtlessly increase the petrol and heating payments of tens of millions of households within the EU.

Conservative MEP Anna Zalewska (ECR) mentioned that residents will “unfortunately pay for the ambitions of the EU”.

“That’s why I think what we need to do is to make sure that they do not end up in energy poverty,” she added.

Presently, there are some 34 million Europeans unable to heat their houses adequately.

The chair of the parliament’s surroundings committee, MEP Pascal Canfin, additionally opposed the ETS extension, arguing that “the political cost is extremely high and the climate impact is very low”.

Greens name for extra

In the meantime, Inexperienced MEPs on Monday had urged the EU Fee to speed up proposals, arguing that “the business community needs clear deadlines and predictability to make investment decisions today and not in 10 years”.

Their name comes after a landmark report was printed in August by the UN local weather science panel, estimating that world temperatures are prone to exceed the 1.5 levels of the 2015 Paris Accord over the following 20 years.

Inexperienced lawmaker Ska Keller careworn that subsidies for fossil fuels must finish instantly to spice up innovation and the transition to renewables energies.

“Not only are we losing out in the fight to get the climate conditions liveable, but also in the race for who provides the tools and technologies for the transition,” she warned.

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