Initial review of 2030 White Paper


Publish date: January 27, 2014

The European Commission has recently presented its much anticipated White Paper on the EU’s 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies (read more here). Although it includes strong wording on CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS), the EU executive has scaled back its climate ambitions dramatically in the name of “cost-effective” decarbonisation. Proposed measures include an unambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 40% by 2030 driven by an increase in the linear reduction factor of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 1.74% to 2.2% in 2020. A modest but supposedly binding renewables target of 27% is also proposed.

“It is now up to Member States and Parliament to strengthen these suggestions and put the package on track to deliver the ambition we need to keep below the 2°C limit in global temperature increases,” states Jonas Helseth, Director of Bellona Europa. “In particular, we need a tighter CO2 emissions target and a clear EU commitment to set the tone for Paris 2015.”

In the attached document (below), Bellona looks at some central aspects of the White Paper and offers initial considerations. Main points include:

  • Acknowledgement that CCS is central to decarbonizing Europe is welcome, but must now be followed up with concrete plans of action.
  • Commission and Member States must decide which schemes can be made to drive CCS deployment in Europe.
  • The suggested stability reserve mechanism is a ‘paper tiger’ and has considerable weaknesses.
  • A discretionary  price management mechanism is needed to give the ETS teeth.
  • The 40% emission reduction target  and 27% renewable energy “target” sets the EU on an unambitious path to ‘walk now, run later’.
  • No first generation biofuel sub-targets are welcome, setting the EU on a path toward more advanced bioenergy;
  • But circumventing the protracted ILUC debate should not delay roll-out of sustainability criteria.

Bellona also notes the heightened role that Member States are expecting to play, both in emission reductions overall and in specific areas, including CCS. The EU is certainly in a different financial state now than when the 2020 framework was drawn up and increased flexibility will surely be welcome to many. It is however, important that clarity is strengthened and purpose maintained as the Union moves toward a low-carbon economy and sustainable society.