Opinion Factsheet  

Implementing the Paris Agreement through innovative and sustainable energy transition at regional and local level

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Opinion Number: CDR 617/2019
Rapporteur: STĘPIEŃ Witold
Commission: ENVE
Status: Adopted
Date: 09/10/2019
 
The IPCC report released in October 2018 highlighted the urgency of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC and of reducing greenhouse gas by about 45%. To achieve this goal, a rapid and far-reaching transition in the governance, production, distribution and consumption of energy is needed.

The opinion intends to send a clear, ambitious message in line with Paris Agreement, the SDGs 13, 11 and 7, and the EU Energy Union objectives and to explore how innovation and properly implemented multilevel governance can drive territories towards a swift and inclusive energy transition. In this context, the opinion aims at:
• Supporting a shift in the energy model while enhancing the contribution of local and regional authorities;
• Identifying how existing policies and funding opportunities at different levels of government can best promote the energy transition in carbon intensive territories
• Identifying any barriers and hurdles standing in the way of an efficient energy transition implementation;
In this opinion, the CoR was calling on the 'Member States, with the support of the European institutions, to show more solidarity and to develop a one-speed, sustainable energy transition while fostering economic development and social cohesion in Europe, focusing particular attention and support on coal regions, carbon intensive regions and islands'; this proposition has been taken up by the Commission through its proposal of the establishment of a Just Transition Mechanism including Just Transition Fund co-financed by Member States to address the specific challenges encountered by certain regions, which will be most affected by the transformation
The calls on the Commission 'to maintain climate change as a strategic diplomatic priority in order to achieve a global level playing field' has been heard and the so-called Green Deal Diplomacy will ensure the promotion and implementation of ambitious environment, climate and energy policies across the world.
The rapporteur of the opinion, Mr. Stepien had the occasion to present the opinion to stakeholders just after its adoption. In this purpose, the rapporteur participated to several events organised by the CoR during the European Week of the Regions and cities such as Implementing the Paris Agreement: EU cities and regions in energy transition held on the Wednesday 9th October.
The rapporteur also participated to the meeting of the Coal Regions in Transition Platform on the 16th october, where he presented its opinion to DG ENER of the European Commission.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- believes that local and regional authorities are best placed to engage their communities, attract private investors and implement ambitious and timely action, acting not only as administrators but also as energy service providers and significant purchasers of energy services;

- calls on the Member States, with the support of the European institutions, to show more solidarity and to develop a one-speed, sustainable energy transition while fostering economic development and social cohesion in Europe, focusing particular attention and support on coal regions, carbon intensive regions and islands;

- calls on the Commission and the Member States to support a strong medium-term target in line with the Energy Union objectives, as a crucial stepping stone to net-zero Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2050, and to increase the level of ambition of the Union’s Nationally Determined Contributions with an economy-wide target of at least 50% domestic GHG emission reductions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels; reiterates its call for more ambitious but at the same time realistic targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy at EU level, which should be raised to 40% by 2030;

- welcomes the announcement of President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to establish a new Just Transition Fund and calls for the funding to be closely interlocked with the 2021-2027 cohesion policy;

- recommends raising the funding rate from the 60% proposed to 70% for profit-oriented organisations and 100% for public authorities and non-profit organisations in the LIFE sub-programme on Clean Energy Transition;

- welcomes the establishment of the InvestEU Fund, and suggests leveraging this opportunity to facilitate the energy transition, particularly in vulnerable regions.

Importance

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2019 Annual Political Dialogue – Platform for Coal Regions in Transition

The second edition of the annual political dialogue of the Platform for coal regions in transition will take place on 25-26 November in Görlitz, Germany, and will be organised by the European Commission in close cooperation with the two German host regions of Brandenburg and Saxony.

CoR rapporteur on energy transition Mr Stepien speaks on the cross-border cooperation between the coal and carbon intensive regions in the session "Outlook for coal regions".

High-level speakers will reflect on the progress achieved in the past year and look at the future of the initiative, in a new European context with an ever-increasing focus on ‘just transition’. Discussions will focus on the respective role of the EU and regions in supporting and implementing a ‘just transition’ and on the specific issues of attracting investments to coal regions and ensuring cross-border cooperation.

 
25 Nov
 

Coal Regions in Transition Platform, 6th working group meeting

Participation of the CoR rapporteur on the energy transition W. Stepien in the 6th WG meeting of the Coal and Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition Platform.

 
16 Oct
 

Implementing the Paris Agreement. EU cities and regions in energy transition

Following the Paris Agreement, the EU has committed to reducing annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% and 80% compared to 1990 levels by the years 2030 and 2050 respectively. However, limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires higher ambitions and a rapid transition across sectors to a sustainable, low-emission energy system based on shared, integrated solutions. Close cooperation across all levels of government and civil society is essential to meet these objectives. Therefore, the success of the energy transition depends on the ability to involve sub-national authorities to manage this change, starting with best practices, but also understanding local limitations and obstacles.

The Committee of the Region’s (CoR) opinion on the EU energy transition strategy (ENVE-VI/040) reiterates these points and underlines that the transition needs to be innovation-driven, relying on resilient local infrastructures and security of supply. Investments and financial expertise need to be fostered at local level, increasing the resilience of the energy system through moderating demand, diversifying sources, and promoting cohesion.

 
09 Oct
 

Adoption of the opinion by the CoR plenary assembly

 
08 Oct
 

24th ENVE Commission external meeting, Bucharest

Discussion and adoption of the opinion "Implementing the Paris Agreement through innovative and sustainable energy transition at regional and local level" .

 
12 Jun
 

Hearing on the support of coal regions in transition through Cohesion Policy post 2020

The hearing, organised by the CoR in collaboration with DG ENER/REGIO, will focus on the future role of cohesion policy in supporting coal regions in transition. It is part of the next meeting of the Coal Regions in Transition Platform. Taking into account the proposals of the Commission about the future of cohesion policy, the existing EU legislation on energy and climate, as well as the recent report of the Coal Commission in Germany the Hearing will address particularly the following questions:
How can we holistically contribute to the transition in coal regions to foster policy, infrastructural, economic and technological change and secure sustainable future? What are the needs and main challenges of coal regions in the EU for a comprehensive support for their structural and environmental change ? What are the best instruments to address them?
Are the current proposals for the cohesion policy beyond 2020 sufficient to address these needs? And, if not, what additional measures could be envisaged within the context of the ongoing debate on the future Multiannual Financial Framework?
The meeting will also allow an exchange of views with Mark Speich, the CoR rapporteur on the Socioeconomic transformation of coal regions in Europe, and Witold Stępień, the CoR rapporteur on Implementing the Paris Agreement through innovative and sustainable energy transition at regional and local level.

 
09 Apr
 

Stakeholders' consultation of the opinion "Implementing the Paris Agreement through innovative and sustainable energy transition at regional and local level"

The rapporteur Mr. Witold Stępień (PL/EPP) and his expert Giorgia Rambelli will meet the representatives of local and regional authorities, the associations and civil society to listen their views on the energy transition at local and regional level.

 
05 Apr