April 29, 2022
“EU can ensure that Social Climate Funds works for vulnerable households” – Chris MacManus MEP

“EU can ensure that Social Climate Funds works for vulnerable households” – Chris MacManus MEP

“The European Parliament must seize the opportunity offered by the Social Climate Fund, to make it into a real tool for eradicating energy poverty,” said Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest. “The opinion of the Economic Affairs Committee is a good first step towards ensuring that the SCF can tackle energy poverty and empower low-income households to fully take part in the energy transition.”

The Social Climate Fund is a new EU fund intended to compensate the impact on vulnerable households of the planned EU-wide carbon price on fossil fuels used for heating and transport. “This proposed extension of carbon pricing raises real questions,” said MacManus. “On the one hand, studies show the low decarbonisation benefits of such a move, and on the other hand, carbon pricing on home heating and road transport is hugely regressive, impacting low-income families the most. The Commission proposed the Social Climate Fund for this very reason. But the Commission’s proposal only does the bare minimum, as it is strictly linked to the extension of carbon pricing.”

“However, energy poverty is already a major problem, with up to 80 million people currently at risk of energy poverty in Europe. This has been exacerbated by the ‘cost of living crisis.’ The Social Climate Fund has the potential to become a real instrument for tackling both existing energy poverty and future challenges posed to vulnerable households. At its best, the SCF could be a means to bring low-income households to the forefront of the energy transition, and empower them to play an active role in tackling climate change. The European Parliament is in a position to make it do so by improving the Commission’s proposal.”

“Today was a good first step with the adoption of the opinion of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. The committee proposed to expand the focus of the SCF beyond merely compensating for carbon pricing, towards alleviating the social impacts of the transition more broadly. I was happy to see a number of the elements I proposed included in the final text, such as a new definition of energy poverty centred around the right to a decent standard of living; a requirement for the SCF to promote high-quality employment in the building renovation and energy sectors; and the important role of energy communities in ensuring access to clean, affordable energy for low-income households.”

MacManus concluded, “I encourage my fellow MEPs from the Environment Committee to take on the many good points from this opinion when developing the Parliament’s overall position on the Social Climate Fund. We have a real opportunity here to make the energy transition work for low-income households. It is time to put the words ‘nobody left behind’ into action.”  ENDS

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