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.