Renewables

CAN Europe: BiH, Kosovo* and Serbia’s NECPs lack climate ambition, coal phaseout dates

can europe necp western balkans report missed targets

Photo: CAN Europe

Published

November 28, 2023

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Published:

November 28, 2023

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The draft national energy and climate plans (NECPs) of BiH, Kosovo*, and Serbia don’t have enough climate ambition and lack coal phaseout dates and plans, while the policies and measures are descriptive instead of with quantifiable goals. The documents were prepared without enough transparency and public participation, according to an assessment report produced by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

Governments in the Western Balkans were required to submit their draft NECPs to the Energy Community Secretariat for revision and assessment by June 30. Albania and North Macedonia adopted the documents in 2021, but now they are revising them and must complete the process by June.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, and Serbia sent draft NECPs to the Energy Community Secretariat for review in late June and July. Montenegro is the only country in the region that has yet to produce a draft NECP.

CAN Europe issued recommendations aimed at improving NECPs to set the countries on a course towards climate neutrality by 2050

The report named Missed Targets: Insights into the Draft NECPs of the Western Balkans offers an analysis of the countries’ ambition for 2030 climate and energy targets, namely greenhouse gas emissions, renewables, and energy efficiency, as well as of key policies and measures.

It contains recommendations aiming at improving the NECPs to set the countries on a course towards climate neutrality by 2050, CAN Europe said.

The document was officially presented at an annual event of the Initiative for Coal Regions in Transition for Western Balkans and Ukraine in Brussels.

Martinelli: This moment is also an opportunity to ensure a socially and environmentally just transition

CAN Europe’s Energy and Climate Policy Coordinator for South East Europe Viktor Berishaj said draft NECPs in the Western Balkans require significant improvements and revisions.

Inclusion of credible and cohesive policies in the final NECPs by June 30 is essential, serving as a milestone to ensure that the 2030 climate and energy targets pave the way for climate neutrality by mid-century, he explained.

With a heavy reliance on coal, the region needs to establish clear and immediate coal phaseout dates and implement corresponding policies, according to CAN Europe Director Chiara Martinelli. “This moment is also an opportunity to ensure a socially and environmentally just transition that must be reflected in the final NECPs to bring the region closer to the EU,” she stressed.

CAN Europe: Natural gas is not a transitional fuel

The final NECPs from BiH, Kosovo*, and Serbia need to ensure that policies and measures have concrete, achievable objectives with credible timelines and oversight mechanisms, the report reads.

The drafts avoid new coal investments but lack a concrete strategy for phasing out existing coal capacities. Definitive coal phaseout plans with specific deadlines and measures are imperative, considering the heavy reliance on coal in the Western Balkans, CAN Europe said.

The switch from fossil fuels should be made directly to renewables, without an “intermediate dependence on fossil gas,” it added.

The principle of “energy efficiency first” is not sufficiently prioritized in the NECPs

The authors of the report recommended that final NECPs deliver detailed plans for deploying renewable energy technologies, addressing existing barriers, and ensuring efficient uptake.

When it comes to energy efficiency, the principle of “energy efficiency first” is not sufficiently prioritized, they pointed out. “There is a need for comprehensive strategies focusing on the efficiency of buildings, heating, and cooling systems, and establishing clear institutional frameworks for implementation and oversight,” the report reads.

NECPs should thoroughly address the just transition, focusing on social aspects and providing comprehensive plans for this transition, CAN Europe stressed.

It includes acknowledging the impacts on communities and workers affected by the energy transition, the authors said.

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