Energy transition:

The legal arsenal to the rescue

Regulations are a significant catalyst in accelerating change worldwide. The energy transition is no exception. In 2016, China launched its 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), ten out of thirteen of whose goals concern the environment. In particular, it is aiming for a 15% drop in energy intensity (relationship between a country’s energy consumption and its gross domestic product) and an 18% drop in carbon intensity of GDP. One of the key measures to reduce Chinese CO2 emissions is the opening of a national carbon market for 2017.
In the United States, although the Federal state withdrew from the Paris agreement at the beginning of June, many municipalities, counties and states are continuing their efforts to promote the development of renewable energy and reduce their carbon footprint. Some thirty of them (California, New York City, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Iowa, etc.) have set norms obliging electricity companies to significantly increase their use of renewables over the next decade instead of coal. Meanwhile in Africa, many countries – with Morocco leading the way – have set themselves ambitious energy transition goals. In Europe, the climate and energy package adopted in 2014 looks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% compared to 1990 levels, improve energy efficiency by at least 27%, and have an energy mix including at least 27% renewables by 2030.
Continuing this momentum, in November 2016 the European Commission approved new proposals with a view to aligning the policies of the 28 member states with the goals of the Paris agreement. These include reducing energy consumption by at least 30% (rather than 27%) combined with a restrictive energy efficiency goal. These texts still have to be approved by the European Council and Parliament, a process that should be completed by late 2017 or early 2018.