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Energy giants call for new EU climate law to ensure 2050 climate neutrality

Image: European Commission.

Image: European Commission.

Seven European energy giants have penned a letter calling for climate neutrality across the European Union by 2050.

SSE, Enel, Statkraft, Iberdrola, Verbund and EDP have collectively penned the letter, addressed to Frans Timmermans, executive vice-president for the European Green Deal.

It calls for the European Union to implement climate neutrality across all policy areas in the EU by 2050 at the latest, as well as increasing the EU’s 2030 ambition ahead of COP26 to at least 55%.

This echoes proposals for the European Green Deal, released in December 2019. However, today’s letter also calls for the EU to adopt an “ambitious EU climate law” to make the 2050 ambition “a reality”.

The proposed EU climate law should enshrine several key principles for steering development in all policy areas in the EU. This includes the cost of energy supplied and used in the EU reflecting the true cost to the climate, with greenhouse gas emissions priced and internalised to incentivise the change to climate-friendly alternatives across all sectors.

Embedding climate neutrality in law, the letter states, can steer the investments necessary to deliver the transition to an economy based on renewables.

This could be enhanced by setting an intermediate target in 2040 that is aligned with the EU’s climate action framework.

Subsidies to infrastructure projects that will not be compatible with climate neutrality by 2050 should be discontinued, and a well-functioning, integrated and digitalised internal energy market should be promoted to allow for a cost-efficient transition.

Other principles include:

  • Policy makers should be informed it is “essential” that cost assumptions in energy system modelling should be based on the latest available market data.
  • Tax and tariff regimes at both European and national levels need to reflect the climate impact of energy delivered to consumers.
  • The circular economy and resource efficiency should minimise deprivation of resources, enhancing the development of renewables and renewables-based electrification.
  • All Europeans should have the right to choose a green energy product, and a just and fair transition should be a guiding principle.

“We believe that these principles would be the right starting point for an EU climate law forming the basis for climate neutrality by 2050,” the letter states, adding that the seven companies welcome the insights provided by the European Commission’s 2050 long-term climate strategy and the European Green Deal.

At the time of their release, the proposals for the Green Deal were also welcomed by the European solar industry, putting itself forward as a key climate change ally despite the lack of solar in the document itself.

However, according to German manufacturing trade group VDMA there needs to be a comprehensive industrial strategy for the solar industry located in the EU as part of Green Deal.

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