European Climate Plan: stricter requirements on emissions from cars, more energy-efficient houses

The emission requirements for new cars will be tightened up further next year. This is set out in the climate action plan presented by the European Commission this week. Over the next ten years, houses will also have to be renovated on a massive scale in order to make them more energy efficient. And coal-fired power stations will have to be closed because they emit too much CO2.

The precise requirements for car manufacturers will be worked out in the coming months. There is no doubt that cars running on fossil fuels must become even more economical, especially now that large and heavy cars such as SUVs are becoming increasingly popular.

These measures are in keeping with the aim of Commissioner Frans Timmermans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Ultimately, the European Union wants to move towards climate neutrality by 2050.

Above all, we need to use less energy in the next few years, where substantial savings can be made, according to the report. In particular, energy-guzzling industries in the chemical and metal industries will have to make substantial savings in their energy consumption. The transport sector, too, will have to work hard. The European Commission still wants a form of road pricing so that more thought can be given to other, cleaner forms of transport.

Biofuel and biomass

For example, the report states that more can be added. In other words, biofuel, which must be environmentally friendly. Timmermans is also in favour of biomass, but emphatically states that biomass must consist mainly of residual waste or high-quality biomass. One example is synthetic paraffin. Trees should not be felled specifically for this purpose

By this, he is referring, for example, to the discussion in the Netherlands, where resistance to biomass power stations arose because forests from the Baltic States were used to generate so-called clean energy.

The action plan also states that aircraft emissions must be substantially reduced in the coming period and that many new solar panels, wind turbines and other forms of renewable energy must be added in the coming period.

Import

The European Union must also become less dependent on energy imports from abroad over the next ten years. At present, half of all the energy the EU needs comes from outside the Union. By investing more in solar and wind energy, for example, the Committee hopes to kill two birds with one stone. The money for imports can remain in the coffers, and it creates jobs.

How many more jobs will be created cannot be deduced from the Climate Action Plan. However, there is money available for companies that want to become greener. From the new corona fund, agreed by EU leaders before the summer, about a third is to be spent on green investments. So EUR 250 billion out of a total of EUR 750 billion should be green.

There are also concerns, particularly for people on low incomes. Research has shown that a large proportion of their money goes into the energy bill. They often live in poorly insulated houses and have no money to save energy, let alone to buy a solar panel. According to Timmermans, these groups need to be compensated financially.

After being presented this week, the plans must be approved by the European Parliament in the coming months. The Heads of Government will discuss the climate plans at their summit in December.

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