1 July 2020 - German Presidency programme from an energy savings perspective

The main topic for the German Presidency - starting today – is the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. In its presidency programme, the German government promises to use the crisis in order to question the current status quo and to better prepare for the future. Topics prioritised in the programme are climate change, digitalisation and a changing work environment.

Brussels, 1 July 2020 – The Coalition for Energy Savings shares three comments on the programme of the German Council Presidency, on building renovations, carbon pricing, and sustainable digitalisation.

The Coalition for Energy Savings identifies a major gap in the Presidency Programme for agreeing a Multiannual Financing Framework and a Recovery and Resilience Facility: dedicated support for a Renovation Wave. In the discussion around the terms and conditions that will be attached to the distribution of the €750bn recovery fund proposed by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, buildings merit a key role. Investment in energy efficiency improvements in general and in buildings in particular should be a key indicator to assess whether the national recovery and resilience plans deliver value for money: resilience and climate protection, jobs and well-being for all. This has been shown by research published in May 2020 by a consortium including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and in recent analysis presented by the International Energy Agency. The Renovation Wave needs concrete measures on the ground. Good intentions alone will not work.

The German government wants to extend carbon pricing to transport and buildings as a measure to achieve climate and energy goals. The Coalition for Energy Savings welcomes carbon pricing as a complementary instrument which can further enhance the effectiveness of dedicated energy efficiency measures, like minimum standards or support schemes. But it warns against an extension of EU ETS to road transport and buildings, currently being considered by the European Commission in its 2030 climate target review. A new study by Cambridge Econometrics has shown that it would not be an effective climate tool for transport and buildings and would come at a high price for consumers.

Germany suggests developing new standards for the development of digital technologies in order to boost digital sovereignty and sustainability in the EU. This means using the potential of digitalisation in order to reduce resource use and energy demand. It also includes limiting the energy consumption of the digital infrastructure. The Coalition looked at societal trends in 2018 and identified digitalisation as one of the major drivers to reduce energy demand. But at the same time, digitalisation can, if allowed to develop unchecked, have the opposite effect. The goal to set up a regulatory framework for a sustainable digitalisation of our economy is of the highest importance.

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Wednesday, 1 July, 2020