EU Needs Single Carbon Goal for 2030, EON’s Teyssen Says

The European Union should set a single target to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent in 2030, according to Johannes Teyssen, chief executive officer of Germany’s largest utility, EON SE.

The EU doesn’t need legally binding goals to increase the share of renewables and boost energy efficiency in the next decade, said Teyssen, who is also the president of Eurelectric, the European power industry association. The 28-nation EU started a debate earlier this year about its future climate and energy policies after the current targets expire in 2020.

“Our association Eurelectric embraces at least 40 percent greenhouse-gas target and I’d go so far as to say it cannot be beyond 50 percent; that’s definitely too ambitious,” Teyssen said in an interview in Brussels yesterday.

The European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, plans to present an action plan on the future framework in January for consideration by the region’s leaders at their summit in March. Policy makers will try to reconcile Europe’s ambitions to lead the global fight against climate change with efforts to help the economy recover.

The EU may consider two main options, which are setting a carbon-reduction target alone or agreeing on a set of binding emissions-cut and renewable-energy goals, according to a draft assessment of the impact of the new framework by the commission.

Under the first scenario, the goal may be lowering carbon discharges by 40 percent in 2030 compared with 1990 levels, the commission said in the document obtained by Bloomberg News. The second option would include a 40 percent emissions-reduction goal with a 30 percent target for renewables or cutting greenhouse gases by 45 percent and boosting the share of renewable energy by 35 percent.

Climate Strategy

As a part of its 2020 energy and climate strategy, the EU has legally binding targets to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent and increase the share of renewable energy by an average of 20 percent. It also has a political goal to boost energy efficiency by a fifth.

One of the challenges policy makers face when deciding about 2030 policies is better coordination of rules. Under the current design, demand for emission permits in the EU carbon cap-and-trade program is being undermined by overlapping renewables and energy-efficiency measures.

Most of renewable energy technologies have matured and new goals to increase their share at national and European level would hamper the efforts to create a single EU energy market, according to Teyssen.

“They are one instrument to deliver such an ambitious climate target, but they are not an instrument per se,” he said. “There should not be another round of additional targets; they just will derail the main target again and lead it into question and be too costly.”