In an open letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, ahead of the publication of its REPowerEU energy plan, CEOs from across Europe and the economy, have outlined their support for the EU’s aim to phase out dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal as a significant step towards stabilising the present energy security and price crises.
Leaders from sectors including manufacturing, heavy industry, finance, consumer goods, retail, power generation and technology are urging the EU to see the present crises as further reason to act in alignment with the Paris Agreement and to accelerate a clean domestic energy strategy as part of the green transition. CEOs also acknowledge the need to overhaul their own business models to ensure a 1.5C joint trajectory and for deep private sector investment in order to support delivery of the European Green Deal.
Signed by 121 businesses, including multinationals and SMEs, and 27 business networks, Solar Heat Europe included, in the run up to this month’s REPowerEU Plan publication, and meetings of the G7 energy ministers and European Council, the letter states: “At the core of the current energy security and price crises sits an overdependence on volatile, imported fossil gas, oil and coal. It is time for all of us to take necessary steps to strengthen Europe’s energy security and resilience by accelerating the green transition. […]
“Measures taken in response to the invasion of Ukraine must prioritise structural and just solutions that can deliver on the green and digital transition and respond to the level of emergency that we face. […]
“This is the time to be bold and double down on delivering the Green Deal and achieve ‘rapid, deep and immediate’ cuts to carbon emissions as demanded by the IPCC. Our collective experience shows that we can mobilise together to unlock acceleration, and as we pick up the pace of transition, further transformation will become easier and cheaper.”
In March the EU announced REPowerEU, its plan for secure, sustainable and affordable energy which is set to shape the EU’s short- and long-term energy policies and also play a key role in the Fit for 55 Package – the package of legislation that will deliver an at least 55% cut in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The letter reiterates business support for an ambitious and effective Fit for 55 package of legislation that can catalyse the transition from fossil fuels and increase the competitiveness of European industry. It specifically calls for increased ambition and action on the Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance of Building Directives and highlights that a strengthened EU Emissions Trading Scheme to deliver on the EU’s targets remains critical.
As European leaders hammer out the details of the RePowerEU strategy, the letter signatories are urging European leaders to:
- Accelerate measures to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency improvements.
- Accelerate the move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable and fossil free powered electrification across industry, transport, heating and cooling and buildings.
- Ensure an inclusive and fair transition process, with clear attention to the growing pressures on cost of living, and access to decent work.
- Provide the right financial incentives and instruments to accelerate investments by investors, companies and households at sufficient strength.
- Fully and effectively mobilise existing EU funds and structures.
- Urgently increase and accelerate the provision of new training schemes built on the needs identified by employees and employers.
The letter was coordinated by the European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe), a cross-sectoral group of European businesses working towards delivering climate neutrality.