A new report has shown that the European Union has not only decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 23%, but could reach 25% by 2020, well in advance of its mandated targets.
The report, published Tuesday by the European Environment Agency (EEA), reveals that the European Union (EU) is on track to “meeting and overachieving” its 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 20%. Specifically, not only has Europe decreased greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2014 by 23% already, but under current policy, the EU could push that up to 24% by 2020, and up to 25% if additional measures currently in the planning stages are implemented in time.
This, just in time to boost the EU’s standing at the upcoming Paris UN climate summit next month, and bolster the EU’s plans to adopt an emissions reduction target of 40% by 2030 as part of the new global climate change agreement that is hoped to come out of the UN negotiations.
“These results speak for themselves: Europe succeeded in cutting emissions by 23% between 1990 and 2014 while the European economy grew by 46% over the same period,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. “We have shown consistently that climate protection and economic growth go hand in hand. This is a strong signal ahead of the Paris climate conference that Europe stands by its commitments and that our climate and energy policies work. And we have already taken the first steps towards implementing our Paris pledge with new proposals presented earlier this year.”
EU progress towards 2020 climate and energy targets
“Europe’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy have resulted in concrete gains,” added Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director. “Our report shows that the EU is on track towards its 2020 climate targets. The report also shows that to achieve our longer-term goals for 2030 and 2050, a fundamental change is needed in the way we produce and use energy in Europe.”
The full report breaks down the individual Member States of the EU and their respective progress towards their individual climate and energy objectives for 2020, with a more nuanced picture of how countries are fairing towards their goals — as seen below:
Progress of Member States towards 2020 climate and energy targets
Breaking that down, 24 of the EU’s Member States are on track to meet their greenhouse gas emission targets, with only Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and Luxemboug falling behind; 20 are on track to achieve their renewable energy target, excluding Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom; 20 are on track to achieve their energy efficiency targets, except for Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden; leaving only 13 Member States on track to deliver their national targets in all three areas.