The national climate and energy plan has targeted a reduction of 55% in greenhouse gas emissions
As part of our Summer like no other series Delano and sister publication Paperjam examine some of the immediate challenges facing the country after the summer holidays. Here Pierre Pailler looks at what’s happening with the national energy and climate plan.
The national energy and climate plan adopted by the government last May is supposed to serve as a roadmap to achieve climate change targets set by Luxembourg for 2030: a reduction of 55% in greenhouse gas emissions, to ensure 25% of energy supply is met from renewable sources and increase energy efficiency by between 40 and 44%.
“It is a comprehensive document that proposes alternative solutions on the ground,” argues environment minister Carole Dieschbourg (Déi Gréng). “It’s a mix of the strategies we need, whether it’s building renovation or agriculture, and the concrete ideas,” particularly in terms of support for individuals.
The plan was the result of several years of consultations, including with farmers and representatives of the economic and industrial sectors, and was said by Dieschbourg to be “a political duty”.
But critics soon sprung up on both sides. President of business federation Fedil Michèle Detaille described the climate plan as a “political diktat”. And while lobby group Mouvement Écologique (Meco) was pleased to find in the plan “ambitious targets, particularly in the area of reducing CO2 emissions, expanding renewable energies and their efficiency”, and noted that many strategies and measures constituted an improvement, it also did not hold back in its criticisms.
Taking growth into account
Meco says it deplores that in its view “the plan does not allow for an understanding of the calculations [on which it is based], and therefore it is not clear to what extent an increase in the employment market in the coming years and an almost doubling of the population have been taken into account.” The lobby group wonders if the parameters used for the plan were the right ones. “True climate protection will remain a dream in Luxembourg, and the desired objectives cannot be achieved” if growth is not considered, Meco says.
Meco reckons the hierarchy of the objectives laid out in the plan have been poorly presented, and their consequences poorly defined. Some measures also seem to be too general to be effective.
“At the end of the year, the government set itself the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 9%, reducing national energy requirements by 8% and driving the expansion of renewable energy to 11.8%,” Meco states, saying it will judge for itself at the end of the year.
The plan has also become a “key element of the economic stimulus package,” that the government is using the save businesses and reboot following the impact of the covid-19 health crisis.
These investments “will have to transform the economy even more than in the past towards sustainability,” said deputy prime minister François Bausch (Déi Gréng), at the end of May when the government presented its Neistart Lëtzebuerg economic recovery plan.
Housing, agriculture, mobility
The housing construction and renovation industry was among the sectors targeted in the first package of measures. Subsidies to sanitise buildings were increased with the aim of encouraging energy efficiency and reviving the crafts and trades sector.
The government also approved new measures regarding energy performance of new office buildings and houses pave the way for a new class A+, including reversible heating systems and improved electromobility.
In addition, organic and local products are at the centre of the agricultural recovery plan. And raising the premiums offered to anyone buying electric bicycles and electric cars is part of the government’s soft and multimodal mobility strategy.
The national energy and climate plan was submitted to the European Commission at the end of May. François Bausch is optimistic and reckons that “Luxembourg will be very well placed to launch the Green Deal before other countries.