How to ease the pain of climate policies

Tomi Mäkipelto
When it comes to energy efficiency there is plenty of unused potential for improvements that will save money and reduce emissions.

The EU will soon get a new climate target. The European Commission today announced that it will propose as a target for 2030 an emissions reduction of 40% compared to the benchmark year 1990. The target previously set for 2020 was for a 20% reduction.

This new goal represents the EU’s response to the report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just before Christmas, indicating that the risks related to climate change have turned out to be even greater than earlier imagined. The new EU policy will add to demands that energy should be used ever more efficiently.

This is sure to cause problems, especially for major energy users. But when it comes to energy efficiency there is plenty of unused potential for improvements that will save money and reduce emissions. We can even find such potential in buildings that have only recently been constructed or renovated.

In addition to the new target for limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the Commission has set an EU-wide target for an increase in the share of renewable energy – to 27% of all energy consumption – though this target is not binding on individual Member States.

The new model gives EU Member States more room for manoeuvre. They can now decide on their own approaches to working towards the emission target. The earlier renewable energy obligation (20%) will be abandoned due to criticism of the overlapping nature of controls. The third cornerstone of climate policy is energy efficiency, which will be examined later this year when a new energy efficiency directive will be drawn up.

I am not worried about the Commission’s future policy guidelines, since improving energy efficiency is generally the most effective way to reduce emissions. Whatever happens, there will be a huge amount of work for us in this vital field.

Tomi Mäkipelto, M. Sc. (Tech), D.Sc. (Econ.), is CEO of the LeaseGreen Group, which provides a wide range of energy saving services for clients in the private and public sectors.

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