EU under fire for ignoring Paris and backing gas


As the European Commission is accused of “pretending Paris didn’t happen”, new analysis warns the continent could waste up to €11.4 billion if it does not wake up to the risk of continued gas investment. While Europe continues to tout new gas infrastructure, and support it through the use of EU funds, demand for gas is falling and at most, just a handful of new targeted projects will be needed to secure supply, warns the analysis. It comes as the EU is back in the spotlight over climate action, following the Commission’s failure to recommend a review of the bloc’s 2030 targets in light of the ambitious promises delivered in the French capital. Amidst renewed calls for robust climate policies that are “coherent with Paris’ goals”, the EU will be expected to speed up its move away from fossil fuels – including gas – and towards a 100 per cent renewable future.


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  • “A smarter approach to energy infrastructure in Europe means being more secure for less money. Gas demand is already falling and by investing in energy efficiency, 80% of gas infrastructure costs can be saved. We must grasp the opportunity to build a secure, low carbon energy system and avoid a major stranded asset risk.” – Jonathan Gaventa, Director at E3G
  • “Europe is at risk of throwing its money away on unnecessary gas infrastructure. The keys to true energy security are renewables and energy efficiency, rather than yet more gas pipelines.” – Imke Lübekke, Director at WWF European Policy Office
  • “The analysis demonstrates once again the enormous value of applying the principles of Efficiency First and regional market integration in delivering clean, secure, affordable energy to Europe’s consumers and businesses. Infrastructure choices must encompass the infrastructure of energy demand, and the increasingly regional nature of energy infrastructure must be reflected in regional planning and delivery frameworks” – Mike Hogan, Senior Advisor at RAP
  • “The report´s finding gives confidence to policy makers in Germany and across Europe that the gas system can handle an accelerated coal phase-out without significant new infrastructure investments.” – Matthias Deutsch, Senior Associate at Agora Energiewende
  • “The report shows that an integrated perspective gas, heat and electricity systems together can deliver significant security and cost benefits. This will become increasingly important as we decarbonise our energy system. ECF and partner organisations in the Energy Union Choices initiative look forward to support the institutions in this process.” – Christoph Wolff, Managing Director at the European Climate Foundation
  • “This coalition representing major stakeholders from across Europe and a cross section of the European economy demonstrates the breadth and depth of the call for climate leadership. Together we believe that Europe must continue to show ambition so as to meet global and national targets of below two degrees, and truly create the necessary framework for further investment in a competitive and resilient low carbon economy.” – Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group
  • “Put simply, Europe’s 2030 legislative agenda risks locking-in lower ambition. We are calling for Europe’s targets to be increased in line with the goals agreed in Paris. This means securing a cut of well beyond 40% in Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and getting those emissions to near zero by 2050. The EU needs to ensure we move off the three-degree warming pathway, where the current climate targets put us.” – Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network Europe
  • “After Paris, the EU must increase its ambition through concrete measures that will allow workers to benefit from good quality jobs, sustainable investment, low-carbon innovation and better public health, and ensure a just transition for the workforce.” – Montserrat Mir, Confederal Secretary in charge of climate and energy policies from ETUC
  • “The Commission must stop pretending Paris didn’t happen. It has a responsibility to step up climate action to reflect the Paris deal in upcoming legislation on renewables and energy efficiency. People won’t trust the EU if it continues to play fast and loose with global warming and delays Europe’s shift to 100 percent renewable energy.” – Greenpeace EU climate and energy policy adviser Bram Claeys
  • “We’re shocked EU decision makers are daring to claim current emission reductions targets are adequate, and are ruling out the possibility of increased action. This is a criminally irresponsible move. Science makes it clear the EU’s fair share means doing much more, much faster than planned. With this assessment the Commission is undermining and undoing the Paris Agreement before it is even signed, and washing its hands of its global responsibilities. To get on track to its fair share of climate action, Europe must urgently catch-up with the citizen-led energy transition and get off fossil fuels.” – Brook Riley of Friends of the Earth Europe
  • “Before the Paris climate talks, EU leaders had committed to cut the Union’s carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. This is not enough to keep global warming to only 1.5 degrees. Without a clear commitment to revise the 2030 target, the Commission is ignoring the devastating effects that climate change is already causing throughout the world. At least 60 million people are certain now to face worsening hunger and poverty throughout 2016 because of drought and crop failures fuelled by a super El Niño, a weather phenomenon that has been super-charged this year by climate change. People living in the worst-affected regions are often poor and therefore especially vulnerable to such weather shocks. The EU needs to make a clear and strong revision to its 2030 target.” – Oxfam EU Policy Advisor on Climate Change and Global Food Security, Lies Craeynest
  • “This proposal is not consistent with what Member States agreed in Paris and will cause alarm in capitals. It undermines the Paris Agreement and will undermine Europe’s influence internationally. At a time when China will surpass their 2020 targets, peak their emissions earlier and rapidly scale up renewables, the EU plan threatens to reduce clean investment and access to global low carbon markets.” – Nick Mabey, Chief Executive of E3G
  • “To prevent dangerous climate change the EU must increase its climate change targets.  President Juncker promised to be big on the big things but the Commission has failed its first major test in implementing the Paris Agreement.” – Rosalind Cook, E3G Senior Policy Officer

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