EU mulls over scrapping 2030 energy, environmental targets

In a move that will enrage environmentalists, European commissioners are considering scrapping energy targets pegged for 2030.

Representatives of the European Commission are mulling over changes to 2030 energy targets.

Due to be officially proposed later this month, the E.U.'s 2030 energy and climate targets aim to boost the use of renewable energy sources and lessen our reliance on traditional fossil fuels. However, the amount of energy utility firms should gather from renewable sources -- as it is a fledgling industry -- remains heavily disputed, and any rulings made by the European Commission will be binding on firms operating within the E.U.

Some countries, including the U.K., are increasing their use of nuclear power and fracking -- enticing local councils which allow the invasive mining of shale gas, touted to be environmentally damaging and potentially a risk to water sources, with financial incentives -- and so oppose binding terms. Others, such as Germany, are supporters of the 2030 proposal, thanks to increased use of renewables.

The current, binding proposal requires countries within the E.U. to gain 30 percent of their energy needs through renewables. In light of lobbying and criticism, a compromise of a non-binding target less than 30 percent has also been suggested. However, this comes with its own problems -- as a non-binding ruling would potentially prove the catalyst for tougher energy efficiency rules.

If the compromise is accepted, this may also drive up costs in the E.U. for energy, as subsidies supporting renewable energy drives have undermined competition, resulting in the average consumer paying more.

Some utilities, such as Vestas, support binding targets, due to their focus on the construction of renewables infrastructure, whereas traditional energy firms including Eon has campaigned against the changes.

While previous 2020 goals were flawed, environmentalists say that without compulsory, binding rulings, advances in renewable energy would not have been made -- so making 2030 targets non-binding will drive the industry down.

Once proposals are submitted by regulators in January, the commission will decide whether to accept the new 2030 targets.

Via: The Financial Times

Image credit: Flickr

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