© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans gestures during the Meeting of College Commissioners at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, January 18, 2022. Julien Warnand / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo
By Aidan Lewis
CAIRO (Reuters) – The European Union may set more ambitious goals for the transition to renewable energy as it looks for alternatives to oil and gas imports from Russia, said Frans Timmermans, The EU’s climate policy director said on Sunday.
The EU’s 27 member states have agreed to reduce their total net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030, a step towards “zero” emissions by 2050.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the European Commission has also proposed that Europe cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year and is drafting a plan to phase them out by 2027. .
The Commission is expected to propose a “Power to the EU” plan in May on how the bloc could give up Russian fossil fuels.
“What we’re going to do over the next few weeks is work towards what I call the Repower EU initiative, and as part of that, we want to accelerate the energy transition. So in that context, we might rethink our goals,” Timmermans told reporters during a visit to Cairo.
Such a revision would mean a “higher share of renewables for 2030,” said Timmermans, declining to give figures for possible new targets.
Under existing plans, the EU will raise the share of renewable energy to 40% of final consumption by 2030.
Egypt, which will host the COP27 climate conference in November and re-exports Israeli gas from liquefied petroleum gas (LNG) terminals on the Mediterranean coast, could help the EU diversify gas imports, Timmermans said.
“If we can get other LNG in the region – and we’ll see what amount will be available from Israel – then that could be a good approach,” he said.
“At the core of what I’m offering is a long-term strategic relationship that starts with LNG, then quickly moves to renewables, especially hydrogen,” he added.