During her hearing in front of the European Parliament today, Kadri Simson, Estonian commissioner-designate for energy focused on the implementation of the current, weak renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.
She was however very unclear on the need to raise them in order to contribute to higher climate ambition, and her support for fossil gas shows she still needs to find her way towards the clean energy transition.
Kadri Simson stated that the energy legislation - without explicit reference to the EU energy targets - will be evaluated in light of a more ambitious climate target as promised by the new head of the European Commission von der Leyen.
She mainly highlighted that she would build close relations with EU governments so that they fix their current, weak National Energy and Climate Plans, as part of an EU-wide planning process aimed at ensuring that Member States meet the 2030 energy targets.
Simson asserted that fossil gas should still play a role in the energy transition, despite the fact that it is not a clean energy source. Even though she mentioned more efforts should be put on the transition away from fossil gas, she supported further diversification of sources and investments in fossil gas infrastructure. Reliance on fossil gas will lock European economies in fossil fuel dependency for decades, putting the realisation of the climate neutrality goal dramatically at risk.
Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“Kadri Simson should have a clear direction on speeding up the transition towards energy savings and 100% renewables in Europe, and strengthening the just transition in its most fossil fuel-dependent regions. Her focus on implementation is important but does not give the full story. The current EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets must be seen just as a starting point in order to allow the bloc to stick to its engagement under the Paris Agreement to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.”
“The candidate commissioner’s support for fossil gas can seriously undermine Europe’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis and should have no room in the clean energy transition. Nor should the fossil fuel infrastructure still be financed from taxpayers’ money."
Nicolas Derobert, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 483 62 18 88
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.