SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
1. EU Programmes likely to be relevant for libraries
2030 climate & energy framework
The 2030 climate and energy framework includes EU-wide targets and policy objectives for the period from 2021 to 2030.
Key targets for 2030:
- At least 40% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels)
- At least 32% share for renewable energy
- At least 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency
The framework was adopted by the European Council in October 2014. The targets for renewables and energy efficiency were revised upwards in 2018.
Clean energy for all Europeans
The Commission wants the EU to lead the clean energy transition, not only adapt to it. For this reason the EU has committed to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 while modernising the EU's economy and delivering on jobs and growth for all European citizens. The proposals have three main goals: putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers.
Consumers are active and central players on the energy markets of the future. Consumers across the EU will in the future have a better choice of supply, access to reliable energy price comparison tools and the possibility to produce and sell their own electricity. Increased transparency and better regulation give more opportunities for civil society to become more involved in the energy system and respond to price signals.
Paris Agreement on Climate Change
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.
The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.
Funding for Climate Action
The EU budget supports EU climate objectives through most budget programmes. DG Climate Action focusses on two aspects:
- Supporting the lead services in integrating climate action into the various EU spending programmes, including the achievement of the target of making at least 20% of the EU budget climate related
- Managing a €864 million programme (LIFE climate action) to develop and implement innovative ways to respond to climate challenges.
In addition to the EU budget resources, DG CLIMA also manages the NER 300 programme for innovative low-carbon energy demonstration projects.
Waste prevention and management
The average European citizen generates around 5 tonnes of waste, of which only a limited share (39% for 2014 with a total EU waste production of 2,6 billion tonnes) is recycled. Much of the rest still ends up in landfills or incinerators.
Europe can simply not afford to continue this practice and waste an essential opportunity to improve its resource efficiency. The EU Waste Framework Directive has two key objectives: to prevent and reduce the negative impacts caused by the generation and management of waste and to improve resource efficiency. The Directive defines a 'hierarchy' to be applied by EU Member States in waste management. Waste prevention and re-use are the most preferred options, followed by recycling (including composting), then energy recovery, while waste disposal through landfills should be the very last resort.
Final Circular Economy package
On 4 March 2019, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. The report presents the main achievements under the Action Plan and sketches out future challenges to shaping our economy and paving the way towards a climate-neutral, circular economy where pressure on natural and freshwater resources as well as ecosystems is minimised. In 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Action Plan, which includes measures that will helpstimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.
The EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials and a revised legislative proposal on waste. Key elements of the revised waste proposal include:
- A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035;
- A common EU target for recycling 70% of packaging waste by 2030
LIFE Climate Action
LIFE Climate Action supports projects in the development of innovative ways to respond to the challenges of climate change in Europe.
The Climate Action sub-programme will provide €864 million in co-financing for climate projects between 2014 and 2020.
Its main objectives are to:
a) Contribute to the shift towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy;
b) Improve the development, implementation and enforcement of EU climate change policy and legislation;
c) Support better environmental and climate change governance at all levels;
d) Support the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme.
LIFE Climate Action supports public authorities, non-governmental organisations and private actors, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, in implementing low-carbon and adaptation technologies and new methods and approaches.
The programme focuses on three priority areas:
Climate change mitigation
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Climate change adaptation
Increasing resilience to climate change
Climate change governance and information
Increasing awareness, communication, cooperation and dissemination on climate change mitigation
There are two programming periods: 2014-2017 and 2018-2020.
2. Library Policies and Best Practices
The most important application of SDG 7 in libraries is the Green Library - a library where construction, internal spaces, sanitation and heating systems meet green standards. The Green, or better “Sustainable library” is defined in ODLIS (the online Dictionary of Library Science: “A library designed to minimize negative impact on the natural environment and maximize indoor environmental quality by means of careful site selection, use of natural construction materials and biodegradable products, conservation of resources (water, energy, paper), and responsible waste management (recycling, etc.).”
In Europe, examples of green libraries are, for instance, the Robert de Sorbon Library of the University of Reims (France), the Brighton’s Jubilee Library in the United Kingdom, the McClay Library of the Queen’s University of Belfast and the Amsterdam Public Library.
The five crucial criteria are:
a) reducing energy consumption;
b) efficient use of the energy supply;
c) minimizing the time of equipment operation through a default powering off or going into standby mode;
d) use of the simplest and most user-friendly solutions; and
e) use of passive systems for the environment adjustment.
[The checklist was developed by Klaus Ulrich Werner, Werner, Klaus Ulrich: Sustainable buildings, equipment, and management. A checklist, which has received translations into eighteen languages. For an overall review, see: Malgorzata Fedorowicz-Kruszewska. Sustainable libraries – fashion or necessity? JLIS.it, 10, 1 (January 2019), ISSN: 2038-1026 online, https://www.jlis.it/article/view/12500/11355.]
Library activities pursuing SDG 7 mainly concern awareness on zero-, low-carbon sources of energy – green energy, blue energy - performed in collaboration with organizations belonging to the civil society. In this respect, the implementation of citizens’ science projects, where scientists can test new solutions through the support of an active and well informed citizenry, may play an important role for the attainment of SDG 7. In Belgium The air seekers project (see SDG 11.6) has been developed by Transport and Development.
3. Opportunities for library funding
This Chapter refers to the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2021-2027, and in particular to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund+ (ESF).
In order to make the most out of these Funds, first refer to the ESIF managing authorities, which are different in every Member State and are responsible for national operational programmes and policies. The list of national authorities, country after country, and region after region, is available at the following link, https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/atlas/managing-authorities/.
In the Table(s) below, for each ESIF objective: Column 1 designates the ERDF or ESF+ specific objective. Column 2 and 3 set, respectively, the related outputs and results indicated by ESIF official documents. It can be easily inferred that European Commission criteria for evaluation are quite general and do not get into the detail of the programmes. It is up to Member States to set additional criteria for evaluation.
Finally, Column 4 lists examples of library projects set up to pursue ESIF objectives or to attain specific Sustainable Development Goals. ESIF-funded and SDG-oriented library projects are matched with specific ESIF 2021-2027 objectives and sub-objectives; what is shown in the table, however, is a simulation: under which presumed ESIF specific objective could SDG-oriented library projects have been funded, if they were to be presented within the ESIF 2021-2027 framework?
More detailed information on the Library Projects listed in Column 5 can be found in the Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries - First European Report.
4. Main Eurostat Indicators
Key trends in “Affordable and clean Energy” in Europe show the following evidence (Eurostat Report, pp. 145 and ss):
- Due to recent increases in energy consumption, the EU is not on track to meet its 2020 energy efficiency target;
- EU citizens on average consumed less energy at home in 2017 than they did in 2002, but further reductions are needed;
- Both energy productivity and greenhouse gas intensity of energy consumption have improved almost continuously since 2000;
- A rising share of renewables in electricity, heating, cooling and transport has put the EU on track to meeting its 2020 renewable energy target;
- Imports of crude oil, natural gas and hard coal have been expanding since 2002 to meet the EU’s energy demand;
- The EU has continued to increase access to affordable energy since 2012 following setbacks caused by the economic crisis.
Goal 7’s attainment is monitored through the following main indicators: Source: EU SDG Indicator set 2020:
5. Library Indicators
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Library Indicators enabling the evaluation of library performances and how they can match SDG indicators.
"Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy"
Goal 7 calls for ensuring universal access to modern energy services, improving energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewable energy. To accelerate the transition to an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system that fulfils these demands, countries need to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology and to promote investment in resource- and energy-efficient solutions and low-carbon energy infrastructure. Energy enables the smooth functioning of all economic sectors, from business and industry to agriculture. The EU still relies heavily on fossil fuels for its energy and faces a number of challenges in securing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy supplies. Increasing energy efficiency, improving energy productivity and reducing total consumption, while ensuring security of supply, competitiveness and access to affordable energy for all its citizens, are some of the ways the EU can help achieve SDG 7. As reflected in the Europe 2030 climate and energy framework, increased energy efficiency and a shift towards renewable energy production are crucial for the EU, especially when considering climate change.
The Energy Union strategy pursues energy security & efficiency, integrated energy market and decarbonisation of the economy. Following the 2020 energy and climate package, the EU has set further targets: the 2030 climate and energy framework foresees 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, at least a 27% renewables share in the EU's energy mix, and at least 27% increase of energy efficiency.
Targets and Indicators: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg7
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