Blog: Energy & Climate Ambitions: The Road to Paris in 2015, by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of the EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change

Blog: Energy & Climate Ambitions: The Road to Paris in 2015, by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of the EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change

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"Energy & Climate Ambitions: The Road to Paris in 2015" by Sandrine Dixson-Declève from @ClimateCLG @CokeCCE
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 8:00am

CAMPAIGN: Energy Conservation/Climate Change


Climate change is one of the most important environmental challenges of our time – and one that requires governments and businesses to take action. As a business leader, it is a critically important issue to me, and I am proud to be an active member of the Prince of Wales’ European Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (EUCLG). Together with other CEOs and business leaders, I recently attended a meeting with José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, to discuss the newly proposed 2030 framework for climate and energy policies. This needs to play a central role as we head towards the pivotal 2015 global climate change talks, which will take place in my hometown of Paris. At Coca-Cola Enterprises, we are supportive of the new EU framework which is why we’ve invited Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of the EUCLG, to explain here how important it is.

Hubert Patricot, European President, Coca-Cola Enterprises


At the end of January, the European Commission released its highly anticipated White Paper, outlining proposals for the European Union’s (EU) energy and climate change targets for 2030. As director of The Prince of Wales’s EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (EUCLG) – a group of business leaders who believe there is an urgent need for new and longer term policies for tackling climate change – the White Paper is something I have been eagerly awaiting.

I believe that European leadership on energy and climate continues to be of significant importance. Paris will play host to the critical United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2015, and the eyes of the world will be watching as global leaders look to agree an ambitious global climate change framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2020.

The new White Paper builds on the existing EU 2020 climate and energy package (also known as the “20:20:20 Package”) which sets out a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20%, reach 20% market penetration of renewable energy and achieve a 20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency – all by 2020. The 2030 plans include three main proposals:

  • To reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% - below 1990 levels;
  • To introduce an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%;
  • To renew European ambitions for energy efficiency policies

At the EUCLG, we welcome the new proposals, especially the 40% GHG target. In fact, we have consistently campaigned for an ambitious and binding GHG emissions reduction target of at least40%.

This is a critical threshold, and I don’t believe that a reduced target would stimulate the low carbon investments necessary to stabilize global warming below 2°C, or put the EU on the pathway to achieve its longer-term and highly ambitious target to reduce GHG emissions by 80-90% by 2050.

I am pleased with the support we have secured from many different businesses, including Coca-Cola Enterprises. Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and member of the EUCLG, highlighted: “A 40% target is a minimum level of ambition if we are to tackle climate change and deliver sustainable growth in the long term”.

The new renewable energy target of 27% has stimulated considerable debate, as it will support and encourage business investment while allowing EU member states the flexibility on how to deliver. Most of our members believe the proposed target is the minimum necessary to stimulate continued investment in renewables. However I regret, as do my corporate members, the absence of a stronger policy framework around energy efficiency. I hope the targets can be underpinned by legislation calling for clear member state de-carbonisation plans, including targets for low-carbon technologies.

For the moment there is also a lack of clarity from the European Commission on how an EU wide renewable energy target would be measured – and we will need a clear governance framework and measurement mechanisms to ensure that the target is met.

The proposals will now be considered by the European Council and the European Parliament – an important step as the EU prepares a unified position to take to Paris in 2015. I will be watching closely how the political process unfolds, hoping they aren’t watered down any further.

So far, reception has been mixed amongst EU countries. Poland, for instance, has expressed the belief that no new energy and climate package is necessary until countries like the United States and India come forward with their own pledges to take to the Paris talks.

But I am pleased that other EU member states – including Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium and France – are part of a ministerial ‘Green Growth Group’  and believe that Europe needs to adopt clear and ambitious legislation to give predictability to investors and industry. Earlier this week, the Green Growth Group (representing 15 EU Member States overall) held its second European Summit highlighting the role that a strong 2030 package can play in helping to create jobs and drive growth and competitiveness across Europe.

So whilst there may not be a clear consensus, the release of the White Paper is the beginning, not the end, of a very important process. It is one that which I, together with those progressive businesses which are members of the EUCLG, will be watching closely over the coming months.


Sandrine Dixson-Declève is the Director of the EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (EUCLG). The EUCLG was set up in 2007 and brings together business leaders from a cross section of EU and international businesses to develop policies for tackling climate change.

Previously, she ran Hart Energy Consulting’s new International Sustainable Energy Exchange (ISEE), and was the Executive Director, Europe & Africa for HART Energy Consulting from 1998 to 2009, running the International Fuel Quality Center (IFQC), the Global Biofuels Center (GBC), and the World Refining & Fuels Service (WRFS). She has been a personal advisor to several Members of the European Parliament, and advised the European Commission, Governments in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, international organizations including the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and energy and transportation business leaders.

She has published numerous articles/presentations on sustainable energy, climate change and transport, conventional and alternative fuel quality legislation as well as on trade & environment. 


Dorothee de Montgolfier
Coca-Cola Enterprises