Early this morning, EU decision makers agreed on a disappointingly low overall renewable target for 2030 of 32%. It now remains to be seen what measures will be put in place to ensure that EU countries meet this target.
Reacting to the deal, Anna Heslop, biomass lawyer at ClientEarth said: “The renewable target for the EU is disappointingly low. If the EU wants to portray itself as a climate leader it is essential that the Governance Regulation contains strong mechanisms to ensure Member States keep the EU on track with meeting its climate obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement.”
The new Renewable Energy Directive agreed on today also adopted disappointingly weak sustainability criteria for biomass (i.e. burning wood for energy). A recent report by the Forestry Commission highlighted that without appropriate sustainability criteria, there is a significant risk that energy from forest biomass would result in increased greenhouse gas emissions.
However, in the new Directive, EU countries do have the possibility to adopt more ambitious sustainability requirements at national level.
Heslop added: “The EU has missed a major opportunity to adopt energy policies that recognise and account for all carbon emissions and incentivise the growth of real renewables – not ones that keep encouraging polluting power generation. EU countries have now a moral duty to adopt more sustainable requirements to ensure biomass does not become an obstacle to climate progress.”
The fifth trilogues of the Governance Regulation is scheduled to take place 19 June 2018.