EU Climate Advisors recommend Resource Efficiency and Demand Reduction

The EU Climate Advisory Board released a new report on 18. January in which it assesses the EU’s climate policy, its progress, gaps, and opportunities. It is an encouraging assessment that shows the EU is developing a comprehensive set of climate policies that have been or are being promulgated and now need to be fully implemented. Once lawmaking is completed and if laws are implemented, there is a good chance for the EU to meet its climate policy target of reducing GHG emissions in 2030 by 55% compared to 1990. However, further policies are needed to reach the 90-95% emission reduction recommended by the Board for 2040 and the net-zero target for 2050.

The board called for a rapid removal of all fossil fuel subsidies, a strengthening of the (now two) emissions trading systems, and urgent measures to address agriculture, which has faild to contribute to emissions reductions.

The board also emphasizes the need for a just transition and effective implementation. Hence, it calls for both anticipative and ex-post assessments of policies, including the need to anticipate and counteract/compensate for undesirable distributional effects.

Taking the Avoid-Shift-Improve approach of the IPCC, the Board emphasizes the importance of reducing the demand for energy and materials.

EU policies should incentivise more vigorously the reduction of energy and material demand (in mobility, housing, material use and diets), both through efficiency improvements and behaviouralchanges. To enable this, policies should establish structures and introduce end-use innovations which increase the quality, affordability and convenience of lower-emissions products and services.” (Key recommendation 12) The circular economy is identified as one of the strategies to achieve such aims.

The byline in Politico was: Smaller houses, smaller cars — Europeans should consume less

While I am sympathetic to that statement as it follows from my previous work, I do not agree with the tone of Politico’s piece. The Financial Times and Sky News had a different take. See my newspaper op-ed on the assessment.