Little direction and no action on energy efficiency


8th March 2011

EEB welcomes Commission’s Low Carbon Roadmap 2050 but warns reaching short term goals will fail without stronger action on energy savings

The Energy Efficiency Plan released by the European Commission today has been dismissed as flimsy and weak by green group EEB who feel the Commission leadership should be doing more to put the EU on track to meeting its energy targets.

The Low Carbon Roadmap 2050, released simultaneously by the Commission, was welcomed by EEB for its much needed long term vision on carbon reduction but they warned that attention must also remain on short term goals.

A Plan without Action

“What was once billed as an ‘action’ plan is now a plan with little direction and no action. It’s a plan which could be leading us down a blind alley and lacks any sense of commitment or urgency,” said Catherine Pearce, EEB’s Senior Policy Officer for Energy Policy.

Without the full range of genuine, quantified measures across the whole energy supply chain, supported with binding targets, the EEB fails to see how Member States will be compelled to make greater savings.

In addition, the impact assessment which supports the Plan does not even guarantee it will meet the 20% energy savings target. The strength of the few measures that are proposed is left to the individual ambition and efforts of Member States.

“The Commission leadership needs to think long and hard about the implications of further wasted energy and wasted money. Waiting until 2013 to review the need for stronger measures only leaves us stuck with the same dirty old technologies. This is wrong and irresponsible,” continued Pearce.

“Proposed legislation for the summer should come with binding targets and comprehensive measures to deliver the required savings as clearly set out in today’s 2050 roadmap.”[1]

EEB says that at a time when our energy savings objectives are being placed central to our path to a low carbon economy, the lack of commitment and ambition should be all the more concerning. EEB warned that with oil trading just over $100 a barrel [2], reasons for using less energy become all the more compelling.

Low Carbon Roadmap 2050

EEB welcomed the release of the Low Carbon Roadmap (A roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy by 2050), as a needed long term perspective, warning that attention could not slip from ambitious action in the short term. The proposal that existing efforts will already bring us to 25% cuts by 2020 suggests that going further is all the more possible.

Having a long term vision should be fundamental to achieving a low carbon future while the EEB says it should not be an excuse to avoid short term, ambitious targets. Rather than depending on specific technologies, a low carbon economy should be based upon high efficiency, high renewables, low consumption and minimal reliance on offsets.

Pearce said: “The path to 95% cuts by 2050 starts now. This gives the green light to 30% reductions with measures to reduce energy use and strengthening the emissions trading scheme. “

“The right decisions made now will help save money in reduced fuel costs and avoid being stuck with dirty technologies.”



Catherine Pearce, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Energy Policy,

Simon Nazer, EEB Press Officer, +32 (0) 496438469,


[1] Directive on energy efficiency and savings, to follow up the Energy Efficiency Plan

[2] Bloomberg:

The EEB’s analysis of the outcomes:

The Low Carbon Economy Roadmap:

  • In order to keep within the upper end of the 80-95% range by 2050, EEB calls for 40% emissions reductions by 2020, in the upper range of indications by peer-reviewed science.

Energy Efficiency Plan:

  • The Europe 2020 process which can help promote efficiency and a sustainable growth agenda should not be used to replace national targets and plans, especially at a time when greater transparency, comparability and commitment is required.
  • Leaving an assessment of progress until 2013 is too late. The review of the National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (due in June 2011) to be held in early 2012, would be a more timely opportunity.
  • EEB welcomes efforts to encourage deep renovations of all buildings. We must increase the pace of ‘deep renovations’, meaning that the energy used for heating purposes in the refurbished building is brought to a level comparable to the ‘passive house standard’. Further elaboration and incentives are required to provide Member States with the right support.
  • Sustainable public procurement has an enormous but to a large extent still unrealised potential. We welcome that Commission recognises the essential role of the public sector in its energy efficiency plans. At the same time, it is very disappointing that the plan stays so vague in its announcement on mandatory energy efficiency requirements in public procurement and fails to identify the massive additional energy savings potentials that could be achieved by modernising EU procurement rules in the upcoming revision of the EU procurement directives.
  • We agree that the Ecodesign directive is one of the success stories of EU energy efficiency policy; however successive delays have hampered the initial dynamism of this directive. EEB hopes that the Commission proceeds quickly with the current work plan especially in the case of boiler and water heaters, the products with the highest energy saving potential. A binding target would help to increase ambition.
  • EEB supports promotion of effective and comprehensive energy management systems, such as smart metering but only once technical and social assessments of their contribution have been made.
  • Reform of subsidies promoting energy use is a crucial aspect to be pursued under the proposed roadmap for reform of environmentally harmful subsidies.
  • We support the proposal for national energy saving schemes however greater savings than 6% of final energy consumption could be achieved with more ambitious targets in the schemes.
  • The Plan lacks needed detail on innovative financing and funding schemes. Models which leverage private finance and private sector investment still need to be explored.
  • Funding programmes and financial support schemes should be designed to encourage the greatest savings. For example the maximum amount of funds should be available for measures achieving the greatest savings, this would include for deep renovations in the building sector.
  • The financial facility established by the European Economic Recovery Programme should be made permanent and revolving.

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Policy Officer: Energy and Climate

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