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As EU National Energy and Climate Plan deadline approaches, serious improvements are needed

June 25, 2024

BRUSSELS – This week is the deadline set by the European Commission for Member States to submit their final National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), a core component of the EU’s climate governance and planning framework.  

Clean Air Task Force warns that these plans should not be relegated to the background, and stresses that serious improvements to national plans are needed. 

“The 30 June deadline is not just another date on the calendar,” said Alejandra Muñoz Castañer, Government Affairs Manager, Europe at CATF. “It is a crucial stress test of countries’ commitment to planning and aspiring to a net-zero future. This date tests their dedication to creating an actionable roadmap to bridge the technology, policy, and implementation gaps between the Europe of today and the Europe of 2030. Europe’s energy transition has been charted, but its success and implementation will largely depend on each country’s efficiency in planning.” 

According to CATF’s assessment, Europe’s draft NECPs misalign with present geopolitical and economic realities and fall short of addressing necessary emissions reductions.  

“Climate goals will remain out of reach unless the final plans are seriously improved from their draft version,” added Muñoz Castañer. 

Despite challenges linked to an ongoing war, the region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is anticipated to increase ambition on NECPs. For example, Lithuania and Estonia have increased renewable energy targets compared to 2019.  

Poland, which will be at the helm of the European Council from January 2025, will miss the NECP deadline, but according to CATF’s analysis, the country saw a welcome increase in ambition in several areas. 

“Time is of the essence,” said Tamara Lagurashvili, Director for Central and Eastern Europe at CATF. “As Poland moves away from imported Russian fossil fuels and attempts to transition to a coal-free economy, a diverse decarbonisation strategy is crucial for a feasible, reliable, and socially responsible energy transition.” 

CATF recently outlined last-minute fixes all Member States need to urgently address to improve these plans before the deadline. CATF calls on policymakers to present robust final plans within the agreed timeline that not only meet 2030 targets but also lay a foundation for total decarbonisation by midcentury.  

Running from 2021 to 2030, NECPs are meant to set out the Member State’s targets, policies, and measures that will enable the country to reach the 2030 EU climate targets. Countries submitted draft reports to the Commission in June 2023 and had to present their final NECPs on 30 June 2024, reflecting the Commission’s feedback on the initial drafts.  

As an observer to the NECP process at both national and European levels, CATF has actively advocated for the importance of addressing gaps in planning before jumping straight into implementation. In the report “Bridging the Planning Gap: Transforming European NECPs to Deliver on Climate Targets,” and the NECP Playbooks, CATF showcased concrete guidance to plan for unprecedented clean energy deployment over the coming decade and be prepared for the new geopolitical reality facing the continent. 

The European Commission will be publishing a detailed EU-wide assessment of the final NECPs later this year. Beyond this assessment, the European Commission should do a thorough stress-test of these final plans, understanding if they would withstand the shocks and challenges of both the present day and the years to come and that they are resilient under various scenarios. 

Press Contact 

Julia Kislitsyna, Communications Manager, Europe, [email protected], +49 151 16220453   

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 catalysing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With more than 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. Visit and follow @cleanaircatf 

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