European Commission Unveils Roadmap for Competitive Low-carbon Europe

8 March 2011: The European Commission has unveiled a roadmap for building a competitive low-carbon Europe by 2050, describing the cost-effective pathway to reach the EU's objective of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

Based on the cost-effectiveness analysis undertaken, the Roadmap gives direction to sectoral policies, national and regional low-carbon strategies and long-term investments. The Roadmap recommends that, by 2050, the EU reduces emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels through domestic action alone, with credits used to increase the overall emissions reduction beyond 80%.

The Roadmap also indicates that building a low-carbon EU economy will require, over the next 40 years, additional annual investment equivalent to 1.5% of EU GDP - or €270 billion - on top of overall current investment of 19% of GDP, in clean technologies, infrastructure such as "smart" electricity grids, and environmental protection. Besides reducing Europe's dependence on energy imports, such investment is expected to stimulate new sources of growth, preserve existing jobs and create new ones, as well as contribute to reducing air pollution and associated health costs.

The European Commission expects that the Roadmap will be taken into account by the Council of the EU, the European Parliament, other EU bodies, as well as EU member states and stakeholders in the development of EU and national policies for achieving a low-carbon economy by 2050. As a next step, the Commission also expects to develop specific sectoral roadmaps in cooperation with the sectors concerned.

The European Energy Efficiency Plan comprises a set of proposed measures aimed at creating substantial benefits for households, businesses and public authorities, generating financial savings of up to €1000 per household every year and improving the EU's industrial competitiveness with a potential for the creation of up to two million jobs. The Action Plan: proposes a binding target to accelerate the refurbishment rate of the public sector building stock; introduces energy efficiency criteria in public procurement; aims to trigger the renovation process in private buildings and to improve the energy performance of appliances; seeks to improve the efficiency of power and heat generation; foresees energy efficiency requirements for industrial equipment, improved information provision for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and energy audits and energy management systems for large companies; and focuses on the roll-out of smart grids and smart meters providing consumers with the information and services necessary to optimize their energy consumption and calculate their energy savings.

The Commission is expected to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan, reporting on progress in spring 2013, and put forward related legislative proposal in the coming months. [EU Press Release on the Roadmap] [The Roadmap][EU Press Release on the Energy Efficiency Action Plan] [The Energy Efficiency Action Plan]