On March 10th the European Parliament vote on the final text – already agreed with Council – for the Environmental Action Programme to 2030.
The first cited priority objective reads as follows:
a. swift and predictable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, enhancement of removals by natural sinks in the Union to attain the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target as laid down in Regulation (EU) 2021/1119, in line with the Union’s climate and environment objectives, whilst ensuring a just transition that leaves no one behind;
And in the implementing actions, item (x) includes call for knowledge on: “capacity of different ecosystems to act as greenhouse gas sinks and stocks.”
Hey! Are they getting closer to figuring out that burning more than half the wood harvested in the EU for “renewable energy” (which actually emits more CO2 at the smokestack than coal) might not be such a great idea?!
Although the EAP text is in itself not binding, it is encouraging that this wording is included in the legislative framework text, and has been approved by Council.
They’re talking about removing subsidies, too, though they’re still too silent on the more than €16 billion that EU citizens pay out per year to bioenergy operators. Bioenergy harms the environment – arguably in some ways as much as fossil fuels – so this timidity is a huge problem.
But still: In the implementing actions, item (h) includes,
(h) strengthening environmentally positive incentives as well as phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, in particular fossil fuel subsidies, at Union, national, regional and local level, without delay, inter alia, by:
(i) a binding Union framework to monitor and report on Member States’ progress towards phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, based on an agreed methodology;
(ii) setting a deadline for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies consistent with the ambition of limiting global warming to 1,5 °C;
(iii) a methodology that is set out by the Commission, in consultation with Member States, by 2023, to identify other environmentally harmful subsidies; on the basis of that methodology Member States shall identify other environmentally harmful subsidies and report them regularly to the Commission, allowing for a Commission report on the level and type of such subsidies in the Union, and on progress made on phasing them out;
And Commissioner Sinkevicius did highlight in his address that bioenergy subsidies might get a close look next:
“The EAP plan for adoption this year will also include a methodology for reporting on the phase out of energy subsidies, in particular for fossil fuels. For non-fossil fuel subsidies, there will be a sequencing of steps, notably on monitoring, reporting and a toolbox for phasing them out.”
(Pssssssttt… want to know a secret? Member States that don’t want to wait around for the slow-as-molasses EU process can get a head start on phasing out subsidies for biomass power plants. Member states already can end subsidies for polluting bioenergy! See page 49 here for a quick overview)