Recently the IEA has issued its World Energy Outlook 2007 and IPCC its 4th Assessment report. Comparing the two shows that:
With this need in mind, the EU communication on a strategic energy technology plan sounds thrilling, but the result is disappointing.
The rhetoric has all the sales pitches about Europe taking the lead and so on, but the content is just more of the same; very much the same stuff as was presented in the very outset in the “Energy Package”. Have the clocks stopped in Brussels?
Firstly, the document states again that energy efficiency needs “a step change”. Yes, indeed it does, and energy efficiency also has a lot of technological challenges. Especially how energy efficient technologies and renewable resources can be balanced together into true sustainable solutions, and not only “low-carbon” systems. However, that is not mentioned.
Secondly, the longer perspective to 2050 remains full of pipe dreams. Without arguing which technologies are more realistic or sustainable, the text seems to have elaborated neither neither with use of new analysis, nor with old. The EurEnDel-study from 2004 has more challenging information than this newer document.
Thirdly, the actions proposed seem somewhat inadequate, and just to be more of the same, i.e. co-ordination to “facilitate, enable permit, ensure, etc.” Is this not just a description of how stakeholder interest blocks instead of develops, as mentioned in the WEO?
Finally, and fundamental to the entire operation, the European Challenges (see figure) are not even mentioned. Maybe it is because the intended readers (Council and Parliament) are familiar with them, but they are an essential part in order to understand how technologies relate to purposes.
Recently, the BBC has commissioned a poll in more than 20 countries about people’s attitudes to global warming. The surprising discovery is that the vast majority of the population, in industrialised and developing countries alike, are prepared to make significant changes in lifestyle to prevent global warming!
So, now there is political opportunity to move further and take bold initiatives. The document from the Commission is not such an initiative!
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