Photo: European Union.
07 Nov 2023, 10:40

CLEW Guide to Europe's transition to climate neutrality

Europe has become a key driver of the global move to climate neutrality, with the EU's Green Deal as a crucial policy plan to get to net zero by 2050. Even beyond the EU, national energy systems are becoming increasingly interlinked, and national decisions (or lack thereof) have implications well beyond their own borders. The ‘CLEW Guide to…’ series provides a general overview over where the various countries stand on energy transition and climate policies. A closer look at several European countries (Poland, France, Croatia, Italy, Germany) and Brussels (for the EU as a whole) help readers look beyond national borders to gain insights into current debates and developments.

You can also sign up to the weekly newsletter here to receive our "Dispatch from..." – weekly updates from Germany, France, Italy, Croatia, Poland and the EU on the need-to-know about the continent’s move to climate neutrality.

CLEW Guide – EU

Photo: European Union.

How the European Union is trying to legislate a path to net-zero

The European Union announced itself as a potential early climate champion in 2018 by pledging to reach climate-neutrality by 2050. Yet, rules and regulations are needed to bring emissions down sufficiently to make ‘climate neutrality’ a feasible reality. A lot of work has been done but much is still on the agenda. Politics clashes with policy, continuing to influence what degree of legislative ambition can be pursued. Read the Guide here.

CLEW Guide – Italy

Photo: CLEW/Wettengel.

Italy moves on green transition, but fossil ties remain tight

Italy has taken significant steps in its green transition over the past decade, but the current government under prime minister Giorgia Meloni has also put a focus on making the country a “gas hub” in the Mediterranean Sea, demonstrating its still deep ties to fossil fuels. Researchers and NGOs have criticised the country’s new draft energy and climate plan (NECP) for being vague about issues like phasing out oil, coal and gas, and quickly expanding alternative energy sources like wind or solar power – issues that make meeting the EU’s climate and renewables targets all the harder. Read the Guide here.

CLEW Guide – Germany

Photo: CLEW/Wettengel.

Germany still off track for 2030 climate targets

As Germany enters its second winter without Russian gas, it redoubles efforts to massively expand renewable energy, but also bets on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a temporary revival of coal plants to ensure supply security. The end of nuclear power generation in 2023 has marked a milestone in Germany’s famed “Energiewende." Now, the country’s government, businesses and citizens have many more hurdles to clear to transform Europe’s biggest economy. Read the Guide here.

CLEW Guide – France

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France moves into action with new climate plan, green industry makeover

France has unveiled a new strategy for climate action with a view to slashing its carbon emissions by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels by the end of this decade. The government intends to leverage energy efficiency measures and the reduction of energy consumption. It also seeks to strengthen its nuclear industry by bringing new plants online following a series of unforeseen shutdowns amid skyrocketing energy prices and energy security woes due to droughts and Russia’s war in Ukraine. The deployment of more renewables is the final pillar of France’s decarbonisation plan, as it continues to lag behind the European targets. There is much progress still to be made despite a renewed push for hydrogen and carbon capture. This regularly updated guide provides an overview of France’s efforts to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Read the Guide here.

CLEW Guide – Poland

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Upcoming election will shape direction and pace of Poland’s energy transition

In Poland there is agreement on the need for an energy transition across the political spectrum – something that was far from certain just a few years ago. But major differences remain over the pace and details of the transformation. Ahead of a key parliamentary election on 15 October, Poland's transition is sailing like a ship without a captain: with reality either exceeding the government’s plans (like in PV installed capacity) or not living up to them (like the prime minister's promise to hit one million EVs in 2025). The new government will face difficult decisions over the future of coal, keeping energy prices at acceptable level, and implementation of EU’s Fit for 55 legislation to reach the bloc's 2030 climate target. Read the Guide here.

CLEW Guide – Croatia

Photo: European Union.

Croatia caught between LNG ambitions and abundant untapped renewable energy potential

Ahead of what is touted to be a "super election year" 2024 in Croatia with three important elections scheduled, energy issues are expected to play an important role in the political campaigns but the price of using energy is still mostly prevailing over the environmental and climate concerns. The current government supports the expansion of the LNG terminal on the island of Krk with the aim of turning the country into a regional hub for the import of fossil gas from the United States. This effort elicits frequent protests from green NGOs and energy experts. Read the Guide here.

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