EU negotiators have agreed to top up the share of renewables in the EU’s energy production to 32 percent by 2030 – a more ambitious target than in draft rules but short of the level campaigned for by some member states and the European Parliament. The final law seeks to phase out the use of palm oil – a key import from Southeast Asia – by the same year and removes a few barriers to small producers of renewable energy.
The new goals are meant to help the bloc attain its ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, following the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. “This deal is a hard-won victory in our efforts to unlock the true potential of Europe’s clean energy transition,” EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete tweeted. The Commission initially proposed a target of 27 percent, a compromise backed by member states but, at last week’s meeting of energy ministers, a few of them had pushed for a higher goal that was rejected by Germany as unachievable. The agreement thus allows for a 2023 review for an upward revision of the EU level target.
Until 2020, the European Union is targeting a 20 percent share of renewables. Experts have pointed out that the sharp drop in the cost of green energy would allow for higher targets without increasing budgets. “The agreed 2030 binding target of 32 percent should be seen as a starting line for the race to greater ambition,” commented Wendel Trio, director of campaign group Climate Action Network Europe. Yet, there are some member states that have not yet fully endorsed the shift to renewables due to their own dependence on coal and gas.