The support of the ECF has enabled EPHA to unleash its potential on air pollution and health: by developing a high-quality study on the health impacts of diesel pollution strengthened EPHA’s brand as a European health stakeholder who can credibly represent the health angle of transport pollution, the number one environmental health risk. The funding was also crucial to enable our resource-limited member organisations in countries of Central and Eastern Europe to develop the health narrative of diesel pollution in their countries and inject the health aspects into the national and local discussions by producing concrete evidence and visible events which would not have been possible without this support.
Policy Manager, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), managing the “Diesel & Health” project
Last year was a watershed for EU climate policy. EU policy is familiar territory for the ECF and our network of grantees. In 2018, many years of relationship-building, planning and coordination delivered critical, transformative results. A few highlights:
Greening Europe’s electric grid:
In December, EU leaders agreed on a plan for 55% of Europe’s electricity to be generated by renewable energy resources by 2030. This target sits at the very limits of what was thought possible when the ECF was founded 10 years ago. The Clean Energy for All Europeans package, which includes this ambitious target, would not have been possible without energy markets reform throughout the EU, which ECF has been focusing on for years. Our network’s work on energy markets secured new rules that support the role of energy users in balancing a renewables-led system, putting the consumer at the heart of the transformation.
Driving clean mobility forward:
In January, the EU agreed more stringent CO2 emissions standards for passenger cars and light vehicles, with strict fines for automakers who don’t comply. The policy’s design encourages the mainstreaming of electric vehicles. The European Commission estimates that 30% of car sales will need to be electric by 2030 to meet the standards, while Volkswagen says it will be closer to 40%. When the ECF started working on transport 10 years ago, this mainstreaming of e-mobility was expected to only begin after 2030, but our grantees’ work to uncover and leverage the Dieselgate scandal has accelerated the process by a decade.
Saving money and cutting carbon through eco-design:
Without much fanfare, the EU’s eco-design policy has made good progress and is close to being approved. Though the negotiations went unnoticed by many, the policy will deliver an outsized punch in terms of energy savings—leading to energy savings equivalent to 5% of all EU electricity consumption. All told, the eco-design policy measures adopted will help avoid consumption of as much electricity as is produced by 63 medium-sized coal power units. By 2030, these policies will cut €20 billion per year from European energy bills. ECF grantees, such as ECOS and the European Environmental Bureau, played a key role in keeping the debate honest and well-informed.
Deep industrial decarbonisation:
Last year, the ECF started targeting some long-neglected, carbon-intensive sectors that are vital in the pursuit of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Most notably, we launched ECF’s industry initiative to tackle deep industrial decarbonisation. Even in its earliest stages, our partners undertook thought-leadership on breakthrough industrial low-carbon technologies and the climate mitigation potential of the circular economy. The debate has shifted from “if” industries can decarbonise to “how will we do it?”
Dr. Lars Grotewold
The post-2020 CO2 regulation for cars and vans is a major driver to accelerate the necessary transition beyond petroleum in the transport sector. The ECF has been at the heart of the campaign for ambitious efficiency standards from the very beginning, successfully mobilising and coordinating a wide range of NGOs to advocate for the best possible outcome in the political debate. Most importantly, the ECF managed to extend support for clean electrified mobility beyond the environmental community to other key groups, such as consumer and health organisations, progressive companies and unions, by showing that the societal benefits of a low-carbon transition go far beyond the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.