New energy labels to leave consumers in the dark02 April 2009
by eub2 -- last modified 02 April 2009
European environmental NGOs (EEB, Inforse-Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Natuur en Milieu and ECOS) welcome this week's vote by Member States on energy efficiency measures under the Ecodesign of Energy-Using Products (EuP) Directive but fear the level of ambition is insufficient in a time of climate crisis.
In addition, EU officials have rushed through a rather confusing revision of the format for the Energy Label for household appliances which will now corrupt the simple A-G system that is currently in place and widely recognised throughout Europe.
The votes on fridges, televisions and washing machines will force manufacturers to produce more energy efficient appliances that have the potential to cut CO2 emissions by about 20 Million tonnes (Mt) per year by 2020 (like taking up to 10 million cars off the road each year). However, consumers would have saved even more on their energy bills if the adopted measures had reached their full potential of 30 Mt of CO2 savings. In addition, EU officials caved in to industry pressure and avoided rescaling the famous A-G Energy Label, instead choosing a new system that runs the risk of misleading consumers and has not been tested.
Edouard Toulouse, Ecodesign Officer at environmental group ECOS said: "An ambitious Ecodesign policy and a crystal-clear Energy Label for consumers are vital tools to make our lives sustainable and bring CO2 emissions down in the most cost-effective way." He added: "Televisions and fridges were very iconic tests for these policies. We expected bolder ambition." NGOs are also worried that the two products to come next under these policies - boilers and water heaters, with enormous CO2-cut potential and the same level of emissions as the transport sector - may not deliver enough.
Nathalie Cliquot, Product Policy Officer at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) added: "Industry pressure prevented EU decision-makers from going for the greenest options and ensuring energy inefficient products are clearly flagged with simple A-G labels." She continued: "At least there will be a serious review of these instruments in 3 to 4 years, but in the meantime we must continue to explain why these policies are so important through the 'coolproducts' NGO campaign."
EEB is Europe's largest federation of environmental citizens' organisations with over 150 member organisations throughout Europe.
European Environmental Bureau (EEB)