European energy policy ‘not working’

The European Union's energy policies could prove less effective in reducing carbon emissions than those of China, Royal Dutch Shell's chief executive has claimed.

Peter Voser attacked the EU's renewables subsidy as he claimed the continent's approach to energy was failing.

He told the World National Oil Companies Congress in central London that the incentives for developing renewable energy were distracting attention from other energy sources like oil and gas.

"In the last few years the short-termism of policymakers has been a quite tremendous obstacle," Voser said. "What we can't handle in this industry is short-term changes in regulations."

The EU is seeking to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources, having set a target towards that aim in 2009.

But member states are moving to slow down the pace of subsidies in renewables, making the UK's decision to cut its subsidy for onshore wind energy by ten per cent part of a trend across the continent.

"The point is that the policy needs to be set in such a way that it actually drives the right incentives to deliver the right components," Voser explained.

"By setting a renewables target you actually that target but you forget all the others."

Green energy investment has slipped to its lowest level for four years so far this year, after a 22% decline in the first quarter of 2013.

Voser claimed China was a more reliable partner for energy firms on carbon capture and storage because of its political stability.

"You get a policy, you get a plan," he said. "And they stick to it."