Recurring heatwaves across Europe have been most devastating for the poor. New EU institutions have a mandate to make Europe’s energy transition a just one, but this can only be done if a European Marshall plan is implemented to fight climate change and protect the vulnerable.
Energy poverty and climate crisis are interlinked, urgent issues, where inaction costs live. The EU’s 2030 energy package is an opportunity to act on both challenges, to radically improve the well-being of millions of people while tackling climate change. Decision-makers have a duty to ensure everyone, in particular, vulnerable households, can take part and benefit from the transition.
Energy poverty, described as the inability to afford an adequate heating regime in the household, is increasingly acknowledged as a pressing issue across Europe. The European Commission states that over 54 million people, or 11% of the European population, currently suffer from the consequences of energy poverty, the causes of which are multiple. Despite falling wholesale prices for gas and electricity, consumer costs have gradually increased. When combined with poor energy efficiency in many buildings and a squeeze in living standards, Europe’s citizenry has been left in the dark.