The European Commission released details of its vision for Europe’s energy future, and its proposed preparations for the United Nations climate summit in Paris later this December.

ON THE ENERGY UNION DOCUMENT

Dr Richard Dixon, Friends of the Earth Scotland Director:

“The Energy Union statement leaves the option open for fossil fuels to play a part in our energy mix for far too long into the future. Climate science demands that we must urgently make the transition to a clean energy future based on renewables.

“Supporting new fossil fuel infrastructure is dangerously short-sighted as the vast majority of fossil fuels must stay underground if we are to limit temperature rises.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to commit to a target for community and locally-owned energy to 2000MW by 2030. The current 2020 target of 500MW is likely to be easily exceeded.

Dr Dixon commented:

“To improve our energy security the EU should prioritise supporting locally-owned community renewable energy and measures to reduce demand through efficiency schemes. As a country that produces 7 times more hydrocarbons that we consume to show true leadership on climate we must start to leave fossil fuels in the ground.”

ON ROAD TO PARIS DOCUMENT

The ‘Road to Paris’ communication also published today outlines the EU’s preparations ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris in December where a new international climate change agreement is expected to be agreed. The European Commission highlights the importance of a legally binding agreement by the end of the year to keep global warming below 2°C.

But the proposed emissions reduction pathway beyond 2020 reveals a huge gap between current climate action pledges and what science and equity tells us is needed to adequately combat climate change.

Dr Dixon commented:
“There is a clear gap between the EU’s expressed desire to limit warming to 2 degrees C and their proposed emission cuts. They must work to bridge this gap and contribute their fair share. Other countries need to adopt targets as strong as Scotland’s.

“Climate change threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the global south. The European Union must live up to its commitments by providing climate finance to help those countries who are most at risk from a changing climate.”

“Communities across Scotland are rejecting new fossil fuels and already benefitting from locally-owned renewables. In this vital year for climate action, the Scottish Government should keep climate change at the top of its agenda – by ensuring we meet our targets at home and play a positive role abroad.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Energy Union communication http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2015/EN/1-2015-80-EN-F1-1.PDF
2. Road to Paris communication http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2015/EN/1-2015-81-EN-F1-1.PDF
3. In March 2015, countries are expected to announce their Intended National Determined Contributions which are their pledges of emission cuts ahead of the United Nations meeting this December.
4. Climate Fairshares: a tool created by Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Jubilee South and the Stockholm Environment Institute to help show how much effort each country must undertake if we're to avoid catastrophic climate change in a fair and just way.
5. Friends of the Earth Scotland is calling on Nicola Sturgeon to fight for a fair and ambitious climate deal in Paris this year http://act.foe-scotland.org.uk/lobby/FM-climate-action
6. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organization
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk