Shortly before the end of 2021, the Commission presented a number of new legislative proposals to continue implementing the Green Deal as its key issue. Particularly important measures of this latest package concern the decarbonisation of the building stock, the decarbonisation of the gas market as well as increasing transport efficiency.
The presented legislative proposals are important cornerstones for reaching the targets of the Green Deal, namely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % compared to 1990 by 2030 to become climate-neutral by 2050. Subsequently, before becoming EU law, these measures are now being discussed and jointly negotiated by Member States and the European Parliament.
Renovation and decarbonisation of buildings
A renovation wave of flats, schools, hospitals, office blocks and other buildings shall decarbonise the building stock of the EU by 2050 to ensure that from 2050 buildings will no longer generate emissions. The initial focus lies on improving buildings with the worst energy efficiency. This maximises potential savings, whilst at the same time alleviating energy poverty. All new buildings shall be emission-free from 2030. The refurbishments shall be funded partly by Corona recovery facilities and by the EU’s new Social Climate Fund. Apart from that, the Commission proposal provides for extending the duty to submit energy performance certificates for buildings. These provide information on energy consumption and are therefore important reference points for investment, purchase and rent decisions.
At the press conference, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson underlined the urgent need for action: Buildings are the largest consumers of energy in Europe; they use 40 % of the energy and are responsible for 36 % of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. The reason is their poor energy efficiency and the widespread use of fossil fuels. Refurbishing buildings is also an important support for low-income households, as these often live in the least efficient accommodation, thereby being particularly at risk of energy poverty.
Departure from fossil fuels
Another legislative proposal presented by the Commission addresses the decarbonisation of the European gas market. This shall facilitate the introduction of renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen, and guarantee energy security for all citizens in Europe. This shall set the course for shifting from fossil natural gas to renewable and low-carbon gases and stabilising the gas network. Another focal point is strengthening and protecting consumers. Switching suppliers shall be made easier and price comparison tools, fair and transparent billing information as well as intelligent technologies shall be accelerated.
Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, who is in charge of the European Green Deal, regards this as an important step towards the transition to clean energy sources. The proposal would provide for the rules and create the necessary markets, networks and Infrastructures for renewable and low-carbon gases.
More sustainability and efficiency in transport
The Commission is now also addressing the modernisation of the transport system. The target is to reduce emissions in the transport sector by 90 % through a multitude of measures: improving the trans-European transport network and connectivity, shifting passenger and freight transport from road to rail and inland shipping and the introduction of intelligent transport systems. Apart from that, more emphasis shall be put on sustainable urban mobility. All these measures shall pave the way towards cleaner, more environmentally friendly and more intelligent mobility in the EU.