Key arguments for energy savings by Claude Turmes, Green MEP
1. Energy savings help the fight against climate change
If we are to stand any chance of limiting global warming to a maximum of two-degrees by the end of the century, we have to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. The best option for doing so is to consume less energy. In 2013, 40% of the energy consumed in Europe went towards warming (in winter) and cooling (in summer) our homes. Moreover, transportation represented 31% of our CO2 emissions. This means that we need to save energy in order to save the planet. By better insulating our homes and shifting towards a cleaner transport system, we contribute towards reaching our climate goals.
2. Energy savings reduce our trade deficit
In 2013, the EU spent €421bn on foreign energy, mostly Russian gas. This is equivalent to nearly €1.2bn per day, or €1,200 for each inhabitant of the European Union. Reducing our consumption is the only way to cut our dependency on Russian gas, and to stop relying on the goodwill of Putin and Gazprom.
3. Energy savings diminish bills
Energy poverty affects some 50-125 million EU citizens, meaning that between 14 and 36% of the population finds it difficult to pay their electricity and gas bills, or can't properly warm their houses. The better insulation of housing, coupled with more efficient appliances and an energy-smart way of consuming energy (for example avoiding the use of washing machines during demand peaks) would allow all of us to gain purchase power.
4. Energy savings create jobs and stimulate growth
In the context of an economic downturn, the sector of energy efficiency is one that could lead to job creation, as builders, craftsmen, installers, architects, engineers, and so on could renovate, design, and install energy-efficient technologies. It is confirmed that by 2020, up to 2 million jobs could be created in the area of energy efficiency measures alone, with another possible 2 million jobs by 2030. For each million euro invested in energy savings measures, an average of 17 jobs are created.
5. Energy savings improve the competitiveness of our companies
Energy and resource costs represent 20 to 50% of overall production spending within the manufacturing industry. For geological and structural reasons, Europe will always have higher electricity and gas prices than its major competitors like the US or China. Therefore, if we improve the energy and resource efficiency of our manufacturing processes, the EU’s industries would remain cost-competitive when selling products on the world market.
6. Energy efficiency is a true European project
Solidarity is at the core of the European project. For historical reasons, economies located in central and eastern Europe are still quite inefficient, as to produce one unit of GDP, eight times more energy is needed in Bulgaria than in Denmark. Energy efficiency helps these economies to converge and reduces the macro-economic imbalance.