Campaigners across Europe urge EU leaders to commit to binding energy saving targets, which will create jobs, slash household bills and cut the need for energy imports.

Energy efficiency measures have superb potential to create employment. In Scottish homes alone they could help create 10,000 new jobs.

Juliet Swann, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Energy saving is not only cheaper and creates more job opportunities than energy generation, but will make meeting renewables targets easier, and contribute massively to cutting CO2 emissions.

“We’ve already shown how proper levels of investments in renewables and grid infrastructure will allow Scotland to close all its fossil fuel and nuclear generators by 2030. Reducing energy demand will make that even easier to do.

“Additionally, with one in three Scottish households living in fuel poverty, improving energy efficiency in Scotland could improve living standards, lessen the health impacts of poorly heated homes, and avoid the excessively high winter death rate.

“To ensure both public and private investment in improving energy efficiency, it is vital that Scotland leads the way at an EU level in demanding a mandatory EU target that would set the tone for action across Europe.”

European Heads of State meeting today (4 February) in Brussels for a special energy summit must call for a binding target to drive down energy consumption, according to Friends of the Earth groups across Europe.

Meeting the EU’s current 20% energy efficiency target for 2020 would cut CO2 emissions by 800m tonnes, create up to a million new jobs, slash dependence on energy imports, save nearly £1000 per year per household, and avoid the construction of about 1000 coal power plants.

EU leaders recognise that the EU is not on track to delivering those benefits, according to draft council conclusions seen by Friends of the Earth. The draft conclusions stop short of recommending stronger legislation for energy savings.

To coincide with the heads of state meeting, Friends of the Earth groups around Europe have launched a campaign to call for a binding European energy saving target, and strong social policies at the local and national level to ensure that every country contributes to saving energy.

Friends of the Earth groups around Europe will be focussing on the contribution that the building sector can make to meeting these energy saving targets. Buildings currently account for 40% of energy use in the Europe, and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact:

Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

The Power of Scotland Secured – research showing how Scotland could phase out all fossil fuel and nuclear power by 2030, maintain a secure electricity supply and generate significant revenue from renewable exports.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk/power-secured

Scotland’s energy efficiency plan
www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/10/06101313

Friends of the Earth Europe energy saving briefing
www.foeeurope.org/energy/download/Energy_savings_briefing_Feb2011.pdf

Energy efficiency: delivering the 20% target – COM 2008 772
www.eea.europa.eu/policy-documents/energy-efficiency-delivering-the-20

Friends of the Earth groups in the UK, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Spain and Slovenia participate in the campaign to call for a binding European energy saving target.

Friends of the Earth Scotland exists to help people in Scotland look after the planet for everyone’s future. We think globally and act locally in Scotland, delivering solutions to climate change by enabling and empowering people to take both individual and collective action. We offer help to people with the big things in life – helping to sustain a healthy society and environment. We believe that all of our children’s futures will be better because of what we do.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk