The EU has a difficult road ahead to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Even before the war in Ukraine, the obstacles were already substantial. However, given the current context of rising energy prices, achieving a just transition to a more sustainable future will be even more challenging.

On 14 June 2022, the think-tank Friends of Europe will hold its annual Climate and Energy Summit. This year’s summit aims to take the pulse of the climate crisis and energy transition, by focusing on how to strengthen EU’s energy sovereignty, the development of clean technologies and the role of sustainable finance in cutting down emissions.

Ahead of the summit, Debating Europe convened a citizens’ panel, with a mix of citizens and civil society representatives, to discuss energy and climate change. Their questions and comments will be responded to by participants at the summit on 14 June. You can watch the panel in the video above. Taking part were:

  • Marie
  • Kostian
  • João

How can Europe achieve energy sovereignty? How can the EU create the conditions for climate innovation, and how can new technologies be deployed at speed and scale? How can this transition be financed fairly and effectively? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Gustavo Quepón on Unsplash
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

33 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    Sorry, I am afraid, but the citizen panel discussion was mainly based on wishful thinking, lack of essential technical and statistical data and spiced with too much political EU futurism.

    Political slogans like solidarity, equality and collectivism etc. are not priorities when serious technical problems impacting the economy & GDP need to be solved. Why not listen first to what competent and professional Engineers in the varying fields with experience and relevant data at their fingertips have to say?

    Why do we start to entertain “opinions” from non-technical persons, like seasoned and would-be politicians, financial experts, journalists & students on subjects which are technically very complex?

    Let the technical elite present their solutions first before the political & financial elite try their luck on the subject.

    The blind trust and “over-reliance” (~40%) on one major oil/gas supplier like Russia turned out a poor political judgement, highly risky and backfired terribly for Germany & the EU! To prevent similar political failures to reoccur- one way would be to have political and technical protections= “firewalls & fuses” installed between members.

    Take the 27 non-homogeneous EU members (“not yet fully harmonised”):

    * All have different industries, are differently industrialised, have different electricity base load requirements, have a different number of ageing and modern energy infrastructure, require minimal or high maintenance, are more or unreliable, or reached their end of economic life cycle and due for a rebuilt/replacement.

    * Members are differently endowed with raw materials & resources (minerals, water, sun, wind, climate & manpower etc.), have different consumption patterns, are in different climatic zones, and have different building regulations.

    * Or having varying civil & industrial kWh consumption ratios, or receiving energy protection/priority for some industries, or have different cost inputs etc, etc.

    Doesn’t that imply & confirm that each country should aim first for self-reliance (= energy sovereignty), and to maximise its most economical and cost-effective mix of energy production before importing any shortfall from the most reliable international partner at the most favourable terms?

    And- the EU suzerain should not be tempted but avoid politically based re-distribution of energy- by direct intervention in the energy affairs of members.

    If one country’s electricity grid fails/drips due to overload or foolishness, a fuse to protect all other 26 is required. Rather one down, than all down! That’s part of the electrical/building regulations to safeguard the electrical home wiring system.,_consumption_and_market_overview

    Science, technical data, stats & people with relevant professional experience should not be ignored. Rather ignore fallible politicians.

    Why not get familiar with some basic technical terms before attempting to govern the EU- and please be reminded to call in the best technical energy experts available in Europe or globally to assist.

    Term example:

    “Baseload- is the minimum level of demand on an electrical supply system over 24 h. Baseload power sources are those plants that can generate dependable power to consistently meet demand. They are the foundation of a sound electrical system.”

    Emphasis should be on “sound, rational & realistic decision making”

    • avatar
      Oliver H.

      “The blind trust and “over-reliance” (~40%) on one major oil/gas supplier like Russia turned out a poor political judgement, highly risky and backfired terribly for Germany & the EU! ”

      A fraudulent description, given that gas is at best a tertiary contributor to energy in Germany and is primarily used in combined power/heat plants. The claim the issue “backfired terribly” is ludicrous.

      Members are also not “differently endowed with raw materials & resources (minerals, water, sun, wind, climate & manpower etc”

      They are, in fact, quite connected in a common market with freedom of movement.

      “Doesn’t that imply & confirm that each country should aim first for self-reliance (= energy sovereignty), and to maximise its most economical and cost-effective mix of energy production before importing any shortfall from the most reliable international partner at the most favourable terms?”

      Nope. Because that’s not at all “cost-effective” or economical at all. It is, in fact, a massive waste of resources.

      “Science, technical data, stats & people with relevant professional experience should not be ignored. Rather ignore fallible politicians.”

      Says the one who cherrypicks the experts to suit his agenda and ignores a host of stats that don’t fit his narrative.

      “Emphasis should be on “sound, rational & realistic decision making””

      Because flag-waving and anthem-singing is “sound, rational & realistic”, yes?

    • avatar
      EU-Reform Proactive

      Hi Oliver H.,
      my quick response:

      Energy supplies (exploration/mining/processing/transporting) & their consumption is a global as well as national issues & rather complex!

      The EU does not have exclusive competence in this field (shared). Its issues remain a minefield of conflicts between the Member States and the EU. (ref Hung./Mr Orban/ EU/Russia oil/gas disharmony).

      F.Y.I Please read through reputable EU & other stats/info-

      “Almost three-quarters (75%) of the EU energy system relies on fossil fuels. Oil dominates the EU energy mix (with a share of 34.8 per cent), followed by natural gas (23.8 per cent) and coal (13.6 per cent)”

      Some domestic consumption figures per “dwelling”:-
      EU27 average 17,793 kWh/dw.
      UK (recently left) 20,721 kWh/dw, 16 per cent higher than the EU27 average
      Luxembourg at 44,078 kWh/dw, almost 2.5 times the EU27 average.

      The question of whether all/some proposals are achievable, politically & environmentally desirable, timely implementable or cost-effective for every 27 Member EQUALLY- or not- should be (“has to be”) left to the EU members to decide- whether you or me like it or not!

      I follow the various attempts with interest!

    • avatar
      EU-Reform Proactive

      Hello Oliver H,

      sorry, but now follows my delayed response:

      Please note that I have no qualms about you defending the EU’s political experiment as you (as a German?) perceive it.

      However, as a private EU citizen with a totally insignificant influence on shaping the EU politically, I claim the privilege of “hindsight critique”- to hold ANY European politician accountable for their highly remunerated but poor foresight!

      Why practise blatant denialism despite all the (easily available) strong evidence?

      So far, Germany (EU) fuelled its successful economy (“WIR schaffen ALLES!”- really?) by neglecting to avoid being compromised, ‘captured’ or allowing for possible changes in geopolitics.

      Didn’t all the “recruited” ex- German & other retired politicians serving on the board of some of Russia’s state-owned companies turn out as a gross embarrassment? Or- exposing the thick-skinned & greedy?

      Would that fall within the standard of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting expected from 1st world politicians?

      Why would the EU/Germany suddenly need the mentioned 10-point plan to reduce RELIANCE on Russia- when it was deemed very economical?

      Can someone insinuate or claim that the resources of one sovereign nation automatically belong equally to all EU members & can be commandeered by the EU Council. Do you? “Economics” is only one criterion in a political decision-making process. Unknown to some?

      Didn’t you notice the recent sharp fuel & food price increases- even globally?
      Your reliance on a “quite connected common market with freedom of movement” is saving nobody from these unfolding hardships & price increases!

      Political silliness is using similar open connections, freedom of movement & infects all common markets like a virus! The poorest will always suffer the most!

      Lastly, „flag-waving“? It is a tradition & I don’t mind!
      Dies ist aber ein abgedroschenes & emotionelles Argument!

      Did you ever notice how many EU flags are waving in front of the Brussels Berlaymont building?

      To acknowledge and show respect for ANY national or EU flag or anthem is a prerequisite to being an upright global citizen, expected to practise tolerance and understand respect and honour!


  2. avatar

    If we do believe in a project we can reach the goal!

  3. avatar
    JT HK

    By submitting to lip service of politicians albeit threatening Europe energy and food security, what sovereignty Europe can have? Without regaining political sovereignty, Europe would never achieve energy sovereignty at the meantime when clean and renewable energy supply are not sufficient to support the recovery and growth of the economy.

  4. avatar

    I have one suggestion that will help a little. Create energy parks in sunny EU countries. In sunny countries legalise those solar systems that give an entire house free solar energy, because at the moment they are illegal. The US has Arizona to create massive solar parks and sell energy batteries to the EU.

  5. avatar

    With renewables backed by hidrogen and a good eurowide grid of electricity transportation.

  6. avatar
    JT HK

    It is NATO which has been pressurizing Russia through expansion, do not insult the intelligence of the people. The reality today is that people are being connected by the internet. The general public are empowered by the equal access to information. Even though the US IT companies are controlling popular access to information, everything can overcome by technology. Please pay some respect to the people. Environmental protection does not need to find an enemy for publicity.

  7. avatar

    Use new technologies! Invent new technologies!

  8. avatar

    Nuclear energy ….that you destroyed by privitising energy suppliers and banning nuclear plants

  9. avatar

    We can learn from cyclists! At 13 degrees, how many layers are needed? Two! At five degrees and rain, how many layers are needed? One jacket and two layers(two blouse thermo)! If you are dress less, the cholesterol hardens in your veins. If you let go of the heat and go up to 20, you go bankrupt…

  10. avatar
    JT HK

    When Europe is turning to burn coal and resuming nuclear energy, China has been trying to create a carbon free country. The actuality is that Europe is killing its environmental protection and sustainable development goal with American value on fake freedom and democracy values. Not country can be qualified as democracy when it leads to great misery of its people. No country can be qualified as free if their people cannot earn enough to pay the fuel, cannot enjoy a regular job to sustain a family, cannot even be able to enjoy a good shower, cannot have a warm home in cold winter… This type of fake democracy is even worse than authoritarianism and dictatorship

  11. avatar

    Renewable electricity and hydrogen.

  12. avatar

    1. Invest in nuclear energy
    2. Invest in nuclear energy
    3. Invest in nuclear energy

    • avatar

      Nuclear energy can be under attack in case of war, as it is now in Ukraine.

    • avatar

      Energy from wind, sun … Have a look to Denmark! They have many wind mills.

  13. avatar

    Democratise energy production. Every house that can produce a small amount of solar or wind energy should be able to turn their electricity counter backwards. This is not the case in many countries, it requires supportive policy because large energy companies are typically against distributed energy production. But in practice it would be good for everyone, fast to implement, and most importantly, it would increase resilience in case of climate hardships.

    • avatar
      JT HK

      Never politicize economic term. There is nothing called “democratise” energy production. It should be privatization of energy production. It is this overuse of “democracy or democratization” which has led to brain dead of NATO and the overall political elites and “think” tank. Politicization of everything would kill rational thinking. This is the main cause pushing Europe and its people into such enormous hardship of rocketing inflation, unemployment, huge COVID death and closing down of enterprises due to unsupportable fuel cost.

    • avatar

      ok, without getting overdramatic, we can call it “distributed” or “decentralised” energy production, but there is an element of individual empowerment in that too (individuals allowed to produce their own energy) which is why I first use “democratise”

  14. avatar

    fracking – there is enough gas around for many decades

    • avatar

      ever heard of carbon budgets? Climate change? Come on.

    • avatar

      let us discuss this in the winter LOL -ever lived without heating?

  15. avatar

    Nuclear power. Now.

  16. avatar

    By sun, wind, strong water streems power.

  17. avatar
    JT HK

    Following the US political manipulation sanctions is a clearly demonstration that Europe has totally surrendered its military sovereignty to NATO which has in term forced EU to surrender also its social, political and economic sovereignty. Europe energy sovereignty is a joke in such circumstances.

  18. avatar
    JT HK

    It Europe want to achieve energy sovereignty quickly, it is unavoidable to follow Russian strategy to secure its survival first i.e. economic cooperation with China, a rising economic great power. This is the only way Tesla can compete with BYD. This has clearly explained why Trump allow Elon Musk to open its super factory at Shanghai at the climax of the China-US trade war.

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