Sweden backs stronger energy targets to deliver Paris agreement

The Swedish government has backed stronger EU targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency to help Europe meet its commitments to the Paris climate agreement.

Stopping valuable energy from being wasted is widely considered as the cheapest and most effective route to cut climate-harming emissions and meet commitments made in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The European Parliament has backed more ambitious targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Discussions are about to begin between the European Parliament and national governments to agree EU targets. Sweden has now backed the European Parliament’s position that a 35% target for both renewables and energy efficiency is required.

Ibrahim Baylan, the Swedish government’s co-ordinator for Energy and Energy said:

“The Government welcomes higher targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and also that the goals become binding at EU level”

Climate campaigners have been calling on European governments to match their rhetoric on climate change with action by supporting the more ambitious positions supported by the European Parliament.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsförening) welcomed the government’s announcement on Twitter, saying that the 35% target will allow renewables to continue expanding at their current rate beyond 2020.

EEB Climate and Energy Policy Officer Roland Joebstl said the benefits of supporting more ambitious position, especially on energy efficiency, were clear:

“Binding and strong legislation drives more energy efficiency, cuts carbon emissions, creates jobs and makes Europe less dependent on imported fuels. With the climate crisis at our doorstep, and geopolitical tensions rising, energy efficiency is our secret weapon.”

A more ambitious approach to cutting wasted energy should help to close the gap between current policy and the emissions reductions required to keep global warming below the critical figure of 2°C. The European Union and its Member States are committed to meeting targets set in the Paris Agreement but still lack the policies to deliver their promises.

While Sweden’s position is welcome, and enjoys the backing of the entire Swedish Parliament, other Member States are still expected to attempt to water down targets as negotiations continue.

Joebstl said it was important that other governments now follow Sweden’s lead:

“All EU countries have signed the Paris Agreement. Joining Sweden and supporting these targets is their opportunity to match that commitment with the actions required to deliver it.”

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Regeringen driver på för högre energimål i EU, Swedish Government Press Release, 9 February 2018

MEPs back energy savings to rescue Europe’s climate policy, META Article, 18 January 2018