Gambling on good policies
There is a rumour that the development of the new European Energy policy is sponsored by bookmakers. The odds the policy will be based on binding targets or binding measures change so often that it makes this process the perfect betting topic.
Not only can one bet on the final outcome, but also on the behaviour of different Member States during the process and at this moment the European Parliament will force a new impact assessment to slow down the whole process to a complete standstill.
This Brussels game will keep press and politicians occupied for a while. But at the end of the day we have to deliver energy efficiency, at least if we care about minor details such as saving the planet as is.
When we look at the National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAPs) there is no reason to worry. Individual member states are excellent in showing that they will reach their goals, thereby often ignoring the critics who point to the economic crisis as the major contributor to the achievements, instead of the actions of the first NEEAPS.
Now we get to the question: are you a “glass half full” of “glass half empty” type of person?
If you’re the half full type, you have good stuff to support you. The Odyssee/Mure database has a long list of policy measures and quite often there is an impact assessment of policies in place. The concerted action of the Energy Services Directive also provides good data on tailor-made policy implementation in the 28 countries that participate. There is no denying, there are numerous examples of policies that do deliver.
The half empty type of person will put the latest IEA scenarios on the table that show that limiting climate change to a 2o degrees temperature rise is by now almost impossible to achieve, with all consequences that go with it. They have the weak results of Bonn, Copenhagen and Durban on their side to preach gloom and doom.
Recently I saw an outside-the-box-approach of the half full/half empty paradigm: If you see your glass is not filled to your satisfaction, look for the tap!
And that’s what eceee will be doing: look for the tap of energy efficiency ideas. Because we need more new and innovative policies, measures and technologies if we want to reach the 80-90% reduction of energy use that’s described as a “spot on the horizon” in the 2050 roadmaps.
That won’t be an easy fix. But there are so many good examples known to the eceee network that evidence-based solutions can be offered to policy makers and the model makers that work on the long term roadmaps. (The eceee network includes parties like ACEEE, IEA and all top research institutes in Europe.)
This year eceee will assemble packages of actions that can be used to implement the EU policy, regardless the type of “binding” that will be at the end of the political rainbow. These actions won’t be presented as the only path to success, but as elements of a huge portfolio that has to be used in the broadest possible way to reduce the exhaust of greenhouse gases with > 2%/annum.
Each package will be based on evaluation reports and impact assessments that are available within the network. And we will try to define the conditions that are necessary to make them work.
In our summer studies we will keep bringing people together that not only discuss innovative technology and the way how to use it, but also can debate cross-cutting issues. The socio-economic insights are finding their way into our work and make it possible to identify options that can’t be realised by a single technocratic approach.
We will start using social media to discuss pressing matters and open up the network to many more people on an informal basis. You can find us on Facebook and LinkedIn, where you can choose to make general remarks on topics, or to participate in a more structured debate in a theme discussion.
In the end there will be no silver bullet or magical wand waving, but there will be solid evidence available for those who work for results instead of the political game.
And maybe, and I do realise that this is a dream, we can change the agenda setting of this political topic in such a way that it’s judged on realism and not on political desires. We’re willing to bet on it.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of eceee as an organisation.
Columns by Rob Kool
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