The EESC – the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee of the European Parliament – has called for a massive reduction of oil demand in Europe year by year over the next 40 years. The objective is to reduce demand by more than 50% by 2050.
“The two critical factors which will shape the future of oil over the next decades are the acceleration of climate change, and the growing difficulties of obtaining secure access to diminishing global resources of oil .” explained Derek Osborn, rapporteur of the opinion and member of the EESC’s Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and Information Society.
Osborn added: “The European Union has made a good start on the measures needed within Europe with its Climate Change and Energy package. These can and should be implemented swiftly and vigorously. But, even if that is achieved, the EESC believes that a further set of measures will be needed before we have a fully adequate and comprehensive strategy for Europe… We need to make these changes swiftly and cooperatively so as to create a European model for transforming our economy to a low carbon base that will be attractive and influential in the rest of the world.”
The EESC opinion makes concrete proposals to reduce European oil demand in key sectors, such as transport, construction and building, power generation.
This EESC opinion was requested by the European Parliament to obtain the view of Europe’s organised civil society on the long-term trends of oil supply and demand, and the Parliament’s ITRE Committee is due to adopt a report on this topic on 20 January.
Derek Osborn added “Reducing Europe’s consumption of imported oil and relying more on Europe-based alternative energy sources will also make us less vulnerable to oil-price shocks and longer term interruptions or constraints on oil supply. The high oil prices of the first half of 2008 were a wake-up call. The subsequent decline in prices does not mean that the long-term problem has gone away. We need to act now to make our society less dependent on a resource that is certainly finite and can only become more difficult to obtain in the years ahead.”