Energy targets

A Poisonous Climate

Change is in the air for industry.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Heavy industry fears that E.U. clean energy targets will be costly and make them less competitive than non-European rivals. Green companies fear they will lose business if the goals aren’t strict enough.

  • Facts


    • E.U. leaders have agreed to cut the emission of pollutants by 40 percent by 2030.
    • Bloc members will also increase renewable energy use and boost energy efficiency to 27 percent.
    • The cost to the German steel industry of the emissions trading scheme could hit €1.4 billion ($1.77 billion) by 2030.
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Forget the policy wonks – the outcome of yesterday’s European Union summit, where leaders discussed the bloc’s three main climate goals, will have been more hotly anticipated across industry. But nerves will have been jangling for very different reasons in different sectors.

Technology companies, for instance, were not expecting government leaders to go far enough in their plans to cut emissions, while energy-intensive industries feared ruin if they went too far.

In the end, the leaders of the 28-country bloc agreed to cut the emission of pollutants by 40 percent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

They also vowed to increase renewable energy use to 27 percent by 2030 and boost its energy efficiency savings target to “at least 27 percent.” However, both of these targets were watered down from the hoped for 30 percent level.

The deal was hailed as a landmark agreement, with Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, calling it “the world’s most ambitious, cost-effective, fair climate energy policy.”

Germany, which is committed to the abolishment of non-renewable energy sources under its energy transition (Energiewende) policy, welcomed the deal. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the renewables target was particularly important to Germany and that those member states that want to go over and above it are free to do so under the agreement.

“Germany will not have a hard time (living up to the targets). We have already set tougher national targets,” she added.

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