The Communication " A clean planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy" is setting the basis for the future of the EU energy and climate policy and is proposing complex and ambitious scenarios which will have cross-cutting impacts on all sector of the EU policies. Together with the Governance of the Energy Union regulation, this communication is creating the new framework for the upcoming policies in the field of energy and climate and beyond: the role of Local and Regional Authorities has to be duly recognised since the very beginning to ensure that the transition to climate neutrality does not impact negatively on vulnerable territories and citizens. The more climate issues become complex and urgent, the more we have to ensure that local and regional authorities are not left alone facing emergencies and complex transitions.
In particular the main objectives of the opinion are:
To express the importance of aiming at the most ambitious scenario towards 2050 and set the objective of achieving climate neutrality;
To stress the central role of Local and Regional Authorities in the definition of concrete roadmap towards climate neutrality;
To stress the need for a systematic territorial impact assessment of climate and energy policies with a view to detecting vulnerable regions and support them in the transition.
The proposal for a "permanent multi-level platform for dialogue on energy as defined in the regulation on the governance of the energy union, including climate and environmental aspects, to support regions and local authorities, civil society organisations, businesses and other stakeholders in the energy transition; states in this context its willingness to set up, if requested by the European Commission, a structure for technical exchanges on implementing the Clean Energy Package at local or regional level;" was reinforced in Mr Ribanyi's opinion on "Implementing the Clean Energy Package: the NECPs as a tool for local and territorial governance approach to climate, active and passive energy" suggesting the co-organisation of a "recurring forum to discuss climate and energy matters including the NECPs" and then again in Resolution VI/038 on "The Green Deal in partnership with local and regional authorities" . In the feedback document, the Commission welcomed "the Committee's suggestion to support technical exchanges at local or regional level on implementing the Clean Energy Package."
The call to " promote a circular approach in the designing, erection and operation of new buildings, which will need to be sustainable or include energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources, starting with the example of the Level(s) initiative" was welcomed by the Commission saying it supports the "life cycle thinking in the building sector, which is necessary to be able to tackle the challenges linked to climate change and resource use. The Commission considers energy efficiency and use of renewable resources as aspects of sustainability, which need to be tackled next to other aspects of life cycle impacts, such as embodied energy, construction and demolition waste, water consumption etc. The focus should be on the optimisation of the overall environmental impact reduction.
The call on the Commission "to evaluate the impact of the different scenarios on climate, health, environmental, economic and social aspects and to propose a corresponding comprehensive regulatory framework based on this evaluation" was taken in the Green Deal proposal, which envisages the approval of a Climate Law to enshrine the climate neutrality target into law and a revision of the targets included in the Clean Energy Package.
The proposal for the "establishment of a European Climate Neutrality observatory" was reiterated in the Resolution VI/038 on "The Green Deal in partnership with local and regional authorities".
The call for an "holistic approach bringing together the instruments and strategies under the EU's general policies on the SDGs, cohesion and the circular economy, but also specific action regarding for example energy policy, climate mitigation and adaptation" is well reflected in the Communication COM(2019) 640 final on "The European Green Deal".
The call "on the European Commission to continue promoting energy efficiency of buildings as a priority in order to cut the emissions from existing buildings and to ensure that public subsidies and financial instruments enable owners to improve the energy efficiency of buildings by renovating them" is well reflected in the Communication on "The European Green Deal" when referring to the "Renovation wave initiative".
The call "to further explore the possibility of quantifying such savings estimates in the health sector by identifying specific indicators, including with the involvement of the WHO" was welcome by the Commission, stating it is "ready to explore in more detail, including with modelling, the negative impacts of pollution in terms of premature death, increase of health expenditure and reduction of labour productivity, as well as to measure possible gains through policy action".
The remark on the "32% target for renewable energy at EU level" being to be "revisited further in the future in the light of technological developments with a view to reaching 40% by 2030 in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050" is reflected in the proposal of "revisions of relevant legislative measures to deliver on the increased climate ambition, following the review of Emissions Trading System Directive; Effort Sharing Regulation; Land use, land use change and forestry Regulation; Energy Efficiency Directive; Renewable Energy Directive; CO2 emissions performance standards for cars and vans."
The mention on "the role of island communities as potential laboratories for climate neutrality policies" is reflected in the commitment to "forward the work on the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative to develop a long-term framework to accelerate the clean energy transition on all EU islands."(COM(2019) 640 final).
The Rapporteur discussed the opinion in a bilateral meeting with Mr Petriccione, Director General of DG Clima.
The Rapporteur discussed the opinion with Ms Evi, EP Rapporteur on the Resolution on the communication "A Clean Planet for all".
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes the communication on A clean planet for all and calls on the European Commission to frame an even more ambitious and achievable roadmap by adopting measures to limit global warming to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels and prioritising the most ambitious scenarios; also calls on the Commission to evaluate the impact of the different scenarios on climate health, environmental, economic and social aspects and to propose a corresponding comprehensive regulatory framework based on this evaluation and in line with the strategy to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
- reiterates its call on the Member States and the European Commission to establish a permanent multi-level platform for dialogue on energy as defined in the regulation on the governance of the energy union, including climate and environmental aspects, to support regions and local authorities, civil society organisations, businesses and other stakeholders in the energy transition; states in this context its willingness to set up, if requested by the European Commission, a structure for technical exchanges on implementing the Clean Energy Package at local or regional level;
- calls on the Commission to guarantee that the national energy and climate plans (NECPs) and national long-term plans are harmonised with the Paris Agreement and the 2050 strategy and the SDG's; considers it crucial that they are drafted using participatory, multilevel dialogue and are based on best regional and local practice; also suggests shortening the interval for periodical review of these plans and providing an institutional framework for the system of locally determined contributions (LDC) to link it with the system of nationally determined contributions (NDC);
- calls on the Commission to actively take into account the particular vulnerability of certain areas, such as the outermost regions, and people undergoing transition to a climate neutral Europe so as to avoid the rejection of the transition process; also calls for the establishment of a European Climate Neutrality observatory to contribute to the fulfilment of national reporting obligations under the Energy Union governance and to assist in mapping and monitoring such vulnerabilities, together with a renewed EU skills audit under the EU Skills Panorama. These measures, aimed at achieving a climate neutral Europe, must take account of regional and local skills needs: the aim is to align the roll-out of sustainable policies with skills growth for future-proof quality jobs in the most vulnerable regions and to facilitate effective exchange of best practices between these regions, building also on the existing composite indicators and on any others that may be identified;
- welcomes the recent Communication by the European Commission on "a more efficient and democratic decision making in the EU energy and climate policy" and believes that many of the suggestions in this document, notably with regard to the crucial element of energy taxation, are essential in order to ensure a coordinated, coherent and timely response to the enormous challenges the EU faces;