A new report published by the European Union’s Joint Research Centre has concluded that greenhouse gas emission savings caused directly by the increase in renewable energy consumption rose at 8.8% between 2009 and 2012.
The report, Renewable energy in European Union for climate change mitigation: Greenhouse gas emission savings due to renewable energy (2009-12), assessed data reported by the European Union Member States over the period between 2009 and 2012, as part of a Union-wide directive.
The Joint Research Centre’s key conclusions from the report is that “renewable energy has a large potential in the portfolio of climate change mitigation” — not revolutionary news, by any stretch of the imagination, but firm and solid news, nonetheless.
More specifically, greenhouse gas emission savings due to the final consumption of renewable energy across the electricity, heating and cooling, and transport sectors, rose from 529.4 mega-tonnes of CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) to 716 Mt CO2 eq over the period between 2009 and 2012.
This amounts to 8.8% compound annual growth over the period, with nearly two-thirds of the total savings coming by way of specific renewable energy development in Germany, Sweden, France, Italy, and Spain.
The report — which is available to download (PDF) from the Joint Research Centre — comes at an important time, ahead of the UN’s climate change conference set for December of this year, and to be held in Paris, France.
The authors of the report concluded:
“Setting up the 20% target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction up to 2020 drove an increase in renewable energy share in the EU, from 8.5% in the baseline year to 11.9% in 2009 and furthermore to 14.1% in 2012, a development that was accompanied by an increase by 8.8% each year in greenhouse gas emission savings in the EU.”
They added that the use of renewable energy in electricity and heating/cooling had “the highest contribution in climate change mitigation in [the] EU, especially due to the fast penetration of new technologies [such] as wind and photovoltaics,” equating to more than 92% in 2012.
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