The European Parliament's environment committee today backed strong energy efficiency targets, acknowledging the numerous benefits of saving energy and demonstrating a clear commitment to the Paris climate agreement.
MEPs on the committee voted on a crucial file of the EU's 'Clean Energy Package' to tackle climate change up to 2030.
On the Energy Efficiency Directive the committee supported a target of 40% energy savings by 2030 and a strengthened annual energy savings target.
Friends of the Earth Europe welcomed the vote, which it says matches the scale of action needed to tackle climate change and reap the benefits of reducing energy waste.
Clémence Hutin, climate justice and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "This file is central to EU climate action: according to the International Energy Agency 76% of the EU's emission cuts must come from efficiency. The environment committee has advocated ambitious action that would enable a halving of emissions up to 2030. This signal is particularly welcome as the devastating impacts of climate change are increasingly visible."
In the Energy Efficiency Directive, major loopholes in the annual savings target – the main delivery mechanism of the directive – were removed by the committee.
Clémence Hutin continued: "This sends a clear message to other MEPs and to the lead industry committee. EU governments have supported an insufficient approach of 30% savings – their approach is barely more than business as usual, so the acknowledgement of the full potential of energy savings for people and the planet today is welcome."
A Cambridge Econometrics study published in July shows a 40% efficiency target would save 77 billion Euros in annual healthcare costs, create 3 million green jobs, lift 20 million people out of energy poverty. 
The lead industry committee vote is set for November, before an expected plenary vote at the beginning of 2018.