Without a complete overhaul, this flawed policy needs to be scrapped to make way for more effective means of meeting proposed 40% cuts in carbon emissions by 2030 If leaks are to be believed, when European council members meet next week, they will agree a headline target of a 40% cut in greenhouse gases by 2030 and a rag bag of assorted, non-binding targets that are intended to add up to a coherent energy and climate package.
They don’t, but the good news is it probably doesn’t matter. Of course a perfectly balanced, rational policy package would be good but that’s not going to happen, with the commission fighting internally, a parliament lacking teeth and member states out to win what they can to protect their own special interests.
Given the legal target for renewable energy for Germany, interconnectors for Spain and Portugal, state aid clearance for nukes for the UK, special protections from carbon pricing for Romania, combined purchasing of gas for Poland, it was never going to be easy putting together something that made sense. Looking back, it seems amazing that three legally binding targets, all neatly set at 20%, were agreed in 2008, the last time such an attempt was made.
Back then the sense of purpose on climate was stronger. This was pre-recession and before the terrible let down of the Copenhagen international climate talks. Also the implications of the targets were not as visible. I don’t believe anyone had a proper vision of what a 20% renewables goal across all of energy was going to deliver when it was agreed.