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SUSPENSE OVER NEW ENERGY AGREEMENT IN EUROPE

The political manoeuvrings over a new climate and energy agreement are in full motion. All signs point to a stricter protocol, which is welcomed by the ROCKWOOL Group.

The table has been set for political suspense this autumn when the 28 member nations of the EU are going to negotiate a new climate and energy agreement for 2020 to 2030. This is an area that has usually entailed great disagreement between member nations. While Denmark is advocating increased requirements and binding targets for the climate and energy pact, countries like Poland are very concerned about how this will affect their economy and industry.



Energy security in Europe

The new climate and energy agreement is to build on the 2020 goal setting framework from 2007. At that time, heads of state and government finally agreed that the EU will reduce its emission of greenhouse gasses 20% by 2020, improve energy efficiency by 20% and promote the use of renewable energy sources so that they account for 20% of the EU’s energy composition. Now, it’s all about the period from 2020 to 2030 and, once again, the negotiations are expected to encounter rough seas.

“Lately, however, there has been a change in attitude among the sceptics, which may help to speed up the EU’s energy ambitions,” Claus Bugge Garn explains. As public affairs manager in the ROCKWOOL Group, he follows the developments closely.

The cause for these new political trends is first and foremost to be found in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has suddenly brought energy security in Europe to the top of the agenda. Today, Europe is very much dependent on imported resources – for instance Russian gas - with more than half of the EU’s energy consumption being sustained from outside. That amount is expected to rise if no deliberate action is taken to pull in the other direction.

The EU should get cracking

The discussion about the new EU climate and energy agreement was jump-started at the beginning of the year when the European Commission – led by the Danish Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard – presented what was being called the world’s strictest climate plan. It included, among other things, a proposal to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses by 40% and increase the share of renewable energy by at least 27% towards 2030.

The Commission also stressed the need for increased energy efficiency in the EU, but would not lay down concrete targets, preferring to wait for an evaluation of the new plan, which is currently being compiled. This involves the 28 member nations submitting a status report of their plans and activities towards 2020 – which will provide the basis for new energy targets.

“This is a stance that we support in the ROCKWOOL Group. We believe that thorough analysis will result in a better agreement than if they try to rush it through,” Claus Bugge Garn says and continues:

“For our part, we’d like to offer an unmistakable call for the EU to be ambitious and consider the long term when it comes to climate and energy. In the EU, we actually already have the technologies that can play a part in reducing our dependence on imported energy while, at the same time, helping the climate, the economy and job creation. Not least when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of buildings where insulation, quite naturally, plays a vital central role. So EU, it is just a matter of getting cracking and shaping up,” Claus Bugge concludes.


ENERGY RENOVATION OFFERS TREMENDOUS SCOPE FOR THE EU

As a homeowner, there is potentially a lot of money to be saved by insulating your house and reducing energy consumption. But these savings are not just about the individual homeowner. If the EU truly wants to ensure substantial improvement within the climate and energy arena, one important key lies in making energy and CO reductions through the renovation of existing buildings. Claus Bugge Garn, public affairs manager in the ROCKWOOL Group, explains:

“Buildings today are responsible for 40% of the total EU energy consumption and are, as such, one of the biggest energy drains and climate offenders we have. There are about 200 million buildings in the EU and the majority of them do not live up to modern construction standards. In comparison, less than 2 million buildings are constructed every year. While it is, of course, great that they are being built in accordance with new stricter energy requirements, that does not change the fact that the biggest potential energy savings are to be found in existing buildings.”



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