MEPs give green light to energy efficiency

Parliament energy committee in favour of binding national targets

Press release - February 28, 2012
The European Parliament showed the way on cutting energy waste in Europe by backing a law that would encourage investments in efficiency, said Greenpeace. In a vote at the industry and energy committee on the EU’s energy efficiency directive, MEPs supported binding national efficiency targets for each EU country and a strengthened carbon market.

London office lights left on overnight


The cross-party group of parliamentarians wants national targets to add up to the EU-wide goal of improving energy efficiency by 20%. In exchange, flexibility would be granted on measures to improve energy efficiency in buildings and to require energy suppliers to step up efforts to cut energy waste.

The MEPs also want the Commission to review the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), which could lead to a reduction in the number of carbon emission allowances for polluting companies.

Under the ETS, companies that emit carbon are required to purchase emission allowances and can trade them on the carbon market. A surplus of available allowances is partly to blame for a low and unstable carbon price. Withholding allowances would encourage industries to cut carbon emissions.

Greenpeace EU energy policy director Frauke Thies said: “Right now, fuel imports cost Europeans almost €1 billion every day – today’s vote sends a clear signal that MEPs are serious about reducing this burden and taking action on climate change. Toughening up the carbon market and setting binding efficiency targets for each country would have a big impact on how quickly Europe can cut carbon emissions while saving money” [1].

Negotiations on the final law will now begin between the Parliament and EU governments.

Note to editors:
[1] According to the International Energy Agency, last year the European Union spent €315 billion on fossil fuel imports, a 40 percent rise on the previous year.

Frauke Thies – Greenpeace EU energy policy director: +32 (0)477 790415 (mobile),

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.