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“Not yet sufficient” – European Commission releases assessment of updated NECPs

December 18, 2023

Brussels – Today, the European Commission released its assessment of the draft national energy and climate plans (NECPs) submitted by Member States, with 24 of 27 countries having submitted revisions at time of publication. 

“Today’s assessment reveals that current plans are not enough to hit EU’s climate targets. Addressing significant shortcomings in the draft NECPs is imperative to put EU countries on the path to deep decarbonisation and successfully achieve its climate targets”, said Nicole Pavia, Program Manager, Clean Energy Infrastructure Deployment at CATF. 

In September 2023, Clean Air Task Force released a report calling on European Union Member States to maximise the short- and medium-term planning potential of their NECPs. The report  “Bridging the Planning Gap: Transforming European NECPs to Deliver on Climate Targets”  identifies opportunities for NECP updates to address rapid changes in the European climate policy landscape, the need to plan for unprecedented clean energy deployment over the coming decade, as well as the new geopolitical reality facing the continent.  

As noted by the Commission, draft NECPs are not yet sufficient to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Union’s objectives. Similarly, the European Climate Neutrality Observatory concluded that the EU needs to accelerate the implementation of the European Green Deal.  

To address what CATF calls a “planning gap,” Member States should use NECP revisions to enable better alignment between 2030 and 2050 objectives – to ensure that actions taken to achieve near-term targets lay the groundwork to achieve future goals. This will facilitate a coordinated and options-based strategy for Europe, mitigating risks that are currently disregarded in European climate policy.  

CATF’s report presents a range of recommendations for policymakers when updating their NECPs that can be found in full here

“As we usher in the year 2024, the imminent deadline for the final NECP updates is now in sight. Countries should wisely leverage the six-month window of opportunity that still stands open to upgrade their plans to deliver on climate neutrality in face of deep uncertainty. It’s not too late to provide clearer pathways that provide predictability and certainty to investors,” said Alejandra Muñoz Castañer, Government Affairs Manager, Europe at CATF.  

Europe’s 2030 climate and energy plans currently misalign with present geopolitical and economic realities, and fall short in addressing necessary emissions reductions. Furthermore, the roadmap to EU-wide climate neutrality by 2050 is not clearly defined. The NECPs could be key in resolving this, serving as interim strategies to ensure Member States not only meet 2030 targets but also lay a foundation for total decarbonisation by 2050. This approach is vital for Europe’s net-zero future and its international leadership. 

“Europe and its Member States need a fundamental shift in how they approach climate and energy planning, moving from a box-ticking exercise to a strategic priority. “With the world now scrutinising climate pledges after COP28, European policymakers have a ready-built mechanism to showcase future-proof plans of action that will fast-forward implementation,” continued Muñoz Castañer

CATF calls upon policymakers, stakeholders, and Member States to consider the recommendations outlined in the report and undertake the necessary reforms to transform NECPs into effective planning, coordination, and implementation tools to efficiently guide climate action across the continent. By bridging the planning gap and adopting a holistic approach, Europe can accelerate its transition to a low-carbon, energy-secure and sustainable future.  

Press Contact 

Julia Kislitsyna, Communications Manager, Clean Air Task Force, +49 151 162 204 53 [email protected] 

About Clean Air Task Force   

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world.     

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