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A new report has made the case for aligning Europe’s national energy and climate plans (NECPs) with the Paris Agreement.

‘Time to pick up the pace: Insights into the draft National Energy and Climate Plans’, published by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, collects the views of national stakeholders on the NECPs of 24 EU countries.

In the non-government organisation’s view, bar a few exceptions the draft plans do not live up to the Paris Agreement goals, but there is still time to improve them, according to CAN Europe.

According to CAN Europe director Wendel Trio the European Commission must make “firm recommendations” for improvements towards more proposals to step up the clean energy transition.

The report highlights key features of 24 draft NECPs, the development of which is required by the Governance Regulation adopted in 2018 and designed to ensure EU member states will collectively achieve the bloc’s climate and energy targets for 2030.

The European Commission will issue recommendations in June before the NECPs are finalised by the end of this year.

Amongst the 24 countries covered by the report, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and France aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2045 or 2050 at the latest.

According to the study member states covered do not demonstrate high ambition on energy savings and renewable energy, indicating a lack of focus in their actions for the next decade. “This is reflected in the insufficient level of their targets, the lack of concrete policies and measures, or the combination of both,” said CAN Europe.

The report also found that countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Greece plan to rely heavily on coal while Italy and Ireland plan to continue to invest in gas to 2030 and beyond, despite the European Commission’s proposal for the EU to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.

‘Time to pick up the pace: Insights into the draft National Energy and Climate Plans’ also draws recommendations for every member state to foster the transition away from fossil fuels and scale up the development of energy savings and renewable energy.

Recommendations include setting clear plans to phase out coal or fossil fuel subsidies.

CAN Europe director Wendel Trio said: “Our report shows that member states’ overall planned responses to climate change and the proposals to step up the clean energy transition are still slow and underwhelming.

“There is no limitation on member states to design ambitious plans for 2030 that will substantially contribute to the overall EU long-term climate and energy objectives.”

According to Trio, “lukewarm” commitments and actions will not allow the EU to become climate neutral by mid-century.

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