Global Witness writes to MEPs calling for support to the Ecodesign Directive which could help phase out fossil fuel boilers in the EU by 2029.

The following is a letter and briefing, sent by Global Witness to selected MEPs, calling for their support to use minimum energy efficiency standards to phase out gas boilers by 2029. Read more on the damaging health and climate impacts of hydrogen heating and why it needs to be stopped in our briefing to MEPs, available to download at the bottom of this page.

Dear MEP,

On Thursday 27th April, the European Commission will host a Consultation Forum on the Ecodesign Directive that will see Council technical representatives and stakeholders meet to discuss the proposed phase out of fossil fuel boilers by 2029.  

This is a crucially important debate, which will help seal the fate of energy security, energy affordability, and the fight against climate breakdown across Europe for decades to come. 

MEPs have been kept out of the decision-making process. But we know that you can help determine a positive result at the Consultation Forum:

  • Are you familiar with your capital's position on the Ecodesign Directive?
  • Do you know who will attend the Consultation Forum on their behalf?

Why we should act

Our attached briefing details a number of opportunities presented by the Consultation Forum, which is proposing to strengthen the energy-efficiency threshold of boilers to enter the single market.

Raising this threshold would push the least sustainable products off the market and promote the use of more efficient technologies, without causing disruption to families across Europe (consumers can keep their boiler as long as it is functioning - which can be up to 20 years).

In short, the EU working together to end the sale of new gas boilers would be transformative. By transitioning to renewable energy to heat Europe’s homes, the EU can:

  • Secure energy independence
  • Slash household bills for families
  • Drastically reduce carbon emissions across Europe
  • Create jobs for the future, and the biggest market in the world for low carbon heating
  • Support EU companies to develop innovative, scalable, and affordable solutions

The cost of inaction

A new fossil fuel boiler is installed every 8 seconds in the EU. Those installed today could be used up to 2050, locking us even deeper into our fossil fuel dependency and jeopardising our commitment to tackling climate change. 

New heating technologies such as heat pumps are a far more efficient alternative. Heat pumps are three to five times more efficient than gas boilers, and are rapidly growing in popularity. Technology, resources, and economic growth are ready to take off. We just need political will.

Efforts to sabotage this process

We can expect heavy resistance from the gas lobby against Ecodesign’s proposal for fossil fuel boilers: they are trying to protect a future for gas by advocating for the use of trojan horse boilers that could run on minuscule amounts of impractical hydrogen or biogas at an undetermined time. 

But hydrogen is little more than a thinly veiled attempt for these companies to stay profitable, by extending the lifespan of gas production and infrastructure. As our attached briefing explains, hydrogen heating is expensive, dangerous and bad for the climate.

So much so that a review of 32 independent studies internationally revealed that none of them support widespread use of hydrogen for heating.

Your support

The recent majority vote in the European Parliament for the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) demonstrated growing momentum in favour of increasing the energy efficiency of buildings in the EU. Eight Member States have already taken steps to phase out fossil fuel boilers.

Raising energy-efficiency thresholds would set a clear precedent of support for a ready-made alternative solution to the EU’s energy demands at home and work.

We would love to hear from you any information you can share on your country’s stance on this issue, and are on hand to answer any questions you have.


Global Witness