On Monday 11 December Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy will launch a Platform for Coal Regions in Transition. This Platform is one of the elements of the Coal and Carbon-Intensive Regions in Transition Initiative, a key action from the Clean Energy for All Europeans package.
The aim of the Platform is to assist Member States and regions in their efforts to modernise their economies and prepare them to deal with the structural and technological transition in coal regions. The EU’s commitment to a clean energy transition is irreversible and non-negotiable.
More info about the Platform, here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/no-region-left-behind-launch-platform-coal-regions-transition-2017-dec-08_en
Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič also wrote a comment in European media including EU Observer, explaining the rationale behind this initiative:
‘The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, one which no generation has ever known before. It is hard to imagine that only 10 years ago there were still no tablets, sharing platforms like Uber and Airbnb did not yet exist, nor apps like WhatsApp, Instagram; even Twitter was just invented!
‘When it comes to energy, change is just as rapid with profound implications on our entire societal and economic model. I often refer to the energy transition as the ‘6Ds model’, because we are looking at decarbonisation and of diversification our energy sources through decentralisation and digitisation of production. This would allow for a democratisation of the entire energy system, while entailing significant disruption.
‘The last D is tricky. Disruption is indeed important but it means that the process will be more difficult for some regions than for others. The challenge is particularly present in coal-intensive regions which will have to reinvent themselves in order to flourish in the new economy.
‘Coal was at the heart of Europe’s economy for many decades. Its tremendous economic and social importance was leveraged politically to unite our devastated continent after WWII (in the form of the Coal and Steel Community which later evolved into the European Union).
‘Yet, this 20th century technology is now being phased out in favour of cleaner solutions. This is one of the main objectives of the Energy Union, creating a European single market which is not only secure and competitive, but that is also sustainable and inclusive.
‘Today 41 regions in 12 EU member states are actively mining coal. This provides direct employment to about 185,000 people across the EU, with additional indirect jobs relying on coal production. However, over the past few decades, the production and consumption of coal in the EU has been in steady decline. This is partly due to relatively high extraction costs which have turned Europe’s coal industry less competitive.
‘Europe’s ability to lead the global energy transition depends not only on the front-runners. Our success also depends on the inclusiveness of this change, on ensuring no one is left behind.’
Read the rest of his comment here: https://euobserver.com/opinion/140220