United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Commission

CSD 14: Thematic discussion ?Enhancing energy efficiency to address air
pollution and atmospheric problems, combat climate change, and promote
industrial development?
Speaking points for the European Commission
Efforts to increase energy efficiency in the EU are steadily gaining momentum. There are
many drivers, amongst them the ongoing debate on energy security, but also the realisation
that improving energy efficiency can bring substantial economic gains.
Austria, speaking for the Presidency of the EU has already highlighted the key objectives of
our energy efficiency policy, they can be summarised as follows:
· Limiting emission of CO2 and other harmful air-pollutants
· Limiting import-dependence
· Improving over-all economic performance and competitiveness
At the level of the EU we have developed a comprehensive energy efficiency policy starting
in the early 1990s. To be underlined that in doing so we have found that to be successful, we
need to work with a variety of different approaches to create a policy mix adapted to the
variety of actors and sectors to be addressed. The approaches we have come to realise work
best include labelling, standards, targets, voluntary agreements, and market-based
mechanisms. These need to be accompanied by significant investment into research. We
have also found it useful to analyse which sectors offer the highest energy saving potential
and focus measures on those. Finally, the EU believes that international cooperation has a
major role to play; the EU is eager to share its experiences on energy efficiency policies and
programmes; is open for research co-operation and ready to work with partners in establishing
and adopting energy efficiency standards that are internationally compatible.
Policy measures:
· Labelling: Energy labelling of appliances and energy using equipment informing
users about energy consumption. This has been a very cheap and effective driver for
efficiency improvements as labels are generally perceived as quality labels by
· Standards : Minimum efficiency standards for energy using equipment: Early rules
eliminated very in-efficient appliances and boilers from the market. Updated and more
dynamic regulation ? the Eco-Design Directive will be an important driver in the
· Focus on sectors with high savings potential: A new Energy performance of
buildings Directive has recently entered into force. It sets:
o Minimum performance standards for buildings on a member state level
o Regular performance checks for heating and cooling systems
o Energy performance certificates for buyers of buildings
· Targets: a new Energy Services Directive sets:
o Indicative target of 1% energy savings annually in member states
o Targets for energy savings in public buildings
o Rules for public procurement
o Requirements for large energy suppliers to promote energy awareness and
· Voluntary agreements: a voluntary EU agreement with car-manufacturers to limit
average CO2-emissions to 140 g/km in 2008 is an important driver for energy savings
· Market-based mechanisms: the EU Emissions Trading Scheme for CO2 in large
installations in the energy sector and industry starting 2005 is an important driver for
energy efficiency.
· Research: Major spending for energy efficiency under the joint EU joint Research