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After fossil gas companies’ record 2021 profits, civil society calls on the EU to provide affordable, renewable heating for all

Seven major civil society organisations from across Europe, representing the large majority of Europe’s environmental movements, are calling today on the EU to provide clean renewable heating for all to tackle the climate crisis and avoid a future energy price crunch. [1] 

Millions of people in Europe have struggled to heat their homes this winter due to the steep rise in gas and energy prices, while seven major fossil fuel companies operating in Europe took in almost €100 billion in 2021. [2] Meanwhile, an estimated 80 million people across the EU struggle to afford to heat their homes. [3]

Reducing energy demand through energy efficiency improvements and switching to sustainable heating and cooling is key to fight climate change. The most vulnerable parts of our society must be supported when shifting away from fossil systems that have been fuelling environmental crisis and social injustice.

This is why today a large coalition of climate and environment groups launched the “Renewable Heat for All”, a first-of-its-kind civil society manifesto for the future of heating and cooling in Europe. [1]

The manifesto, co-signed by Bankwatch, CAN Europe, ECOS – Environmental Coalition on Standards, EEB – European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Global Witness and Greenpeace, calls on the EU to support and implement a massive and fast roll-out of renewable heating and energy efficiency solutions across Europe to ensure that everyone – and low-income households in particular – can afford the switch to renewable heating and enjoy the benefits.

Speaking for the coalition, Davide Sabbadin, Senior Climate and Circular Economy Policy Officer at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said

“People need to be able to heat their homes without heating the planet. But governments and the EU have been far too slow to end subsidies for fossil fuels, and to shift that support to sustainable heating solutions and efficiency. This has to become one of the EU’s priorities this decade. Solutions, such as district heating networks using renewable energy like geothermal or solar thermal but also heat pumps supplied by renewable electricity, have been around for a long time. The technology is mature, they’re popular in our cities with people who’ve already made the switch, and they can meet this challenge.”

We need to heat our homes, not the planet.

ENDS

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Notes to Editor:

[1] Link to download manifesto 

[2] The net income of seven major fossil gas companies (BP, Chevron, Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies) totaled almost $100 billion in 2021, according to data from Refinitiv aggregated by Global Witness.

(live from 11:00 CET on Wednesday February 23)

[3] CNN reports: 80 million European households struggle to stay warm. Rising energy costs will make the problem worse