EU agrees on higher clean energy target

The European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers Thursday reached agreement that by the year 2030, 32 percent of the EU’s energy should come from renewable sources.

“This will allow Europe to keep its leadership role in the fight against climate change, in the clean energy transition and in meeting the goals set by the Paris Agreement,” the European Commission said in a press release.

“By boosting renewable energy, which can be produced from a wide variety of sources including wind, solar, hydro, and biomass, the EU lowers its dependence on imported fossil fuels and makes its energy production more sustainable,” it noted EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete commented that “renewables are good for Europe, and today, Europe is good at renewables. This deal is a hard-won victory in our efforts to unlock the true potential of Europe’s clean energy transition.” The 32 percent goal agreed today is higher than the 27 percent clean energy target agreed by EU leaders in 2014.

Meanwhile, the aid agency OXFAM criticised the clean energy deal saying that Europeans may still be forced to buy biofuels made from food crops until 2030.

A spokesman for Oxfam at its EU office, Marc-Olivier Herman , stated that “EU member states will still be allowed to burn massive amounts of food. Biofuels made from palm oil, rapeseed, and other food crops, are destroying forests, pushing people off their land, and could fuel the next spike in food prices.” “Biofuels made from food crops are not the answer to climate change, they are part of the problem. Sadly, EU rules for renewable energy in the transport sector remain on a road to nowhere,” he added.

Some 60 percent of the palm oil imported by the EU is now used to produce biofuel. The deal adopted today aims to reduce the share of palm oil used for biofuels.

But those measures are likely to be ineffective as demand for palm oil for food, cosmetics and other products will continue to increase in order to substitute for other vegetable oils diverted to EU biodiesel production, he noted.

Members of the European Parliament have been under intense pressure from the biofuel lobby and its allies. In 2015, European biofuel producers spent over 3.7 million euro (USD 4.3 million) lobbying the EU, said OXFAM.

Source: Kuwait News Agency