EU auditors: Efforts lagging in carbon capture, renewables

Luxembourg – EU member states are falling short in two initiatives aimed at reducing the bloc’s carbon footprint, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on said Tuesday.

The ECA’s findings come two weeks after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in a report that time is running out to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Time is running out

The report is expected to be discussed at the United Nations’ upcoming climate change conference in December, in Katowice, Poland.

The ECA examined two programmes that started in 2009, one focusing on carbon capture and wind, and the other on carbon capture and broader array of renewable energy sources. Together, they had a spending target of 3.7 billion euros (4.3 billion dollars), with the aim of bringing green technologies to market.

After studying projects in five countries, the auditors detailed their findings in a new report. They concluded the former boosted the offshore wind sector but did not meet carbon-capture targets. The latter achieved little in either respect.

Draw lessons from past failures

The auditors cited poor investment conditions, regulatory and policy uncertainty, and lower-than-expected carbon-market prices as reasons. Better coordination, flexibility, and accountability could remedy shortcomings in both programmes, they added.

The EU, a signatory of the 2015 Paris Agreement, is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.
To meet those goals, the EU “needs to draw lessons from past failures, design better support mechanisms for innovative low-carbon technologies and ensure full accountability for public resources,” said Samo Jereb, the report’s lead author.