The saga continues: following the letter sent to the European Commission by eight member states, on 23 December 2013, calling for an objective on renewable energies to be included in the 2030 energy-climate change strategy which the EU executive will adopt on 22 January, a new letter was sent, on 6 January, by four European capitals(1), emphasising the need for a goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). This latest missive has been signed by energy and/or environment ministers from Germany, France and Italy - all of whom signed the December letter- as well as Ed Davey, the UK's secretary of state for energy and climate change. aThe letter implies a U-turn by the first three countries on their commitment to renewables considering London's reticence over any goals other than those concerning GHGs. However, says a European observer, it is not as simple as that, rather, it is a reflection of tensions within certain governments, particularly the new German coalition, over the EU's 2030 energy strategy.

The letter of the four, sent separately to Commissioners Gunther Oettinger (energy) and Connie Hedegaard (climate action) called for the new strategy to "include a national objective for reducing GHGs by at least 40%". This goal, the signatories continue, "is essential in order to unblock billions of euro of investment in low-carbon technologies, which will allow for progress in innovation, employment and growth". The letter was mentioned by the new Director of Unit A of DG Energy,aMechthild Worsdorfer, during a conference hosted by the lobby for European businesses, BusinessEurope, in the European Parliament, on 7 January. Speakers at the conference, which took place two days before a joint vote by Parliament's Committees on the Environment (ENVI) and Energy (ITRE) on an own-initiative report on the dossier, emphasised that there should be only one objective for 2030: the reduction of GHGs. The objectives foreseen in the current 2020 strategy for renewables and energy efficiency are counter-productive, said a BusinessEurope representative, adding that they are partly responsible for the rise in energy prices in Europe. The same position was taken by the ECR group's rapporteur, Konrad Szyma ski (Poland), while the co-rapporteur, Anne Delvaux (EPP, Belgium) was in favour of binding objectives for the three areas (GHGs, renewables and energy efficiency). Although this was only an own-initiative report, a restrictive vote would send a clear...

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