Commission energy efficiency plan a gift to oligarchs

Press release - July 23, 2014
Brussels – Greenpeace has criticised a European Commission plan on energy efficiency released today for failing to respond to Europe’s energy import dependence and the challenge of climate change.

The European Commission’s proposal for a 30 per cent 2030 energy savings target (blue line) is based on an outdated 2007 projection for energy use (red line). This projection massively overestimates expected energy use in 2030. The more recent 2013 Commission projection (yellow line) is more realistic. Based on this, the Commission’s proposal only corresponds to a 12 per cent reduction in energy consumption. Greenpeace's proposal for a 40 per cent target (green line) is not based on projections for future energy consumption, but uses a fixed baseline of 2005.

Commenting on the plan, Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser Frederic Thoma said: In its dying days, the outgoing Commission has tabled another gutless plan on energy that is a gift to the oligarchs of this world. An ambitious efficiency target would drastically cut the need for expensive imports of fossil fuels from Russia and elsewhere and help Europe stand up to bullies like Putin. The Commission’s own research shows efficiency could also create three-and-a-half million jobs, while helping tackle climate change. It’s a no-brainer that EU leaders cannot ignore. They must put Europe’s energy policy back on track.

The Commission’s plan backs a 30 per cent energy efficiency target for 2030, completing the Commission’s trio of proposed 2030 climate and energy targets. The plan does not specify whether the target should be binding or not. Member States are still divided on the climate and energy targets ambition and whether they should be binding. EU leaders will take a decision at their October Summit.

Commission president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, who will be responsible for tabling a legislative proposal on efficiency, has backed a binding 30 per cent target as a “minimum”. In June, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Luxembourg wrote a letter to the Commission asking for an ambitious and binding efficiency target [1].

Greenpeace supports three binding 2030 targets for the EU to cut domestic carbon emissions by at least 55 per cent, to increase the share of renewables to 45 per cent and to improve energy efficiency by 40 per cent.

Europe’s largest energy companies have been lobbying hard to avoid a meaningful EU energy efficiency target. Improving energy efficiency and developing renewables by setting binding targets would threaten their market dominance [2].


[1] Letter by governments in support of a binding EU 2030 energy efficiency target, 18 June 2014.

[2] Greenpeace report, Locked in the past - New report explores why Europe's big energy companies fear change, February 2014.



Frederic Thoma – Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser: +32 (0)486 401895

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911,


For breaking news and comment on EU affairs:

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.