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Tackling energy poverty in Europe


The buildings sector is a key contributor to climate change, representing around a third of energy-related emissions in the EU. Inefficient buildings have also aggravated energy poverty, which is skyrocketing across the continent with at least 50 million Europeans living in energy poverty today. Shifting to clean heating and renovating buildings will be central to achieving our climate goals and ensuring affordable, warm homes. But decarbonising the building sector is a highly complex social, financial, and logistical challenge.

In face of this, we’re working with our partners to tackle energy poverty issues across Europe and to propose long-lasting solutions for a just transition in the buildings sector. In France, for example, the government revised MaPrimeRenov, with an additional €1.4 billion grant scheme from 2024 dedicated to thermal renovation of private housing, to take into account recommendations from our partners Fondation Abbé Pierre and the CLER. The changes will provide support for deeper renovation that puts energy efficiency first and allocates more generous funding for low- and very low-income households.

In Germany, we also supported co2online, a non-profit climate network that helps private households conserve energy and reduce their carbon emissions through online information campaigns, energy-saving checks and practical competitions. Co2online is building a community of homeowners who are key to the transformation of the building sector, in part by making critical investments in home insulation. By offering advice on how to save money on bills, co2online is helping build trust and strengthen the voice of homeowners in the public debate. Alongside these efforts, we supported communications initiatives to connect security debates with energy and climate solutions, boosting support to a diverse range of partners working on socially just solutions to the energy crisis.

In addition to local actions, we are working closely with the Right to Energy Coalition to tackle energy poverty at the EU level. Thanks to the advocacy of the Coalition members and their allies, coordinated by Friends of the Earth Europe, energy poverty is now recognised for the first time in EU legislation as a specific form of poverty, with a Social Climate Fund established to address the problem. This signals a major breakthrough in our commitment to end energy poverty, which is vital for both social justice and fighting the climate crisis.

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