European Union Member States are making good progress in lowering their energy consumption and using more and more renewable energy, and are well on their way to meeting their 2020 targets for renewable energy, efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions, but a new report has shown that if current trends continue unchanged then the region will fall short of its longer-term objectives.
According to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) published earlier this month, the European Union will likely meet its 20-20-20 climate and energy targets on time. 2014 figures already show that the region had decreased greenhouse gas emissions beyond the 20% reduction target set for it; the use of renewable energy as a proportion of energy consumption is expected to surpass the 20% by 2020 set for it; and energy consumption is decreasing at a rate which leaves it on path to reach its 20% reduction by 2020.
The report also highlighted that 22 Member States are on track to achieve or exceed the levels of renewable energy set in their respective national action plans — every country in the Union except for France, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal.
However, while these short-term goals appear within reach, the EEA has raised concerns that the more ambitious longer-term energy and decarbonization goals set by the European Union for 2050 require significantly more action to achieve. The EU’s 2030 renewable energy target is within reach, but only if the current pace is continued, but with the natural fluctuation of regulatory and political favor bestowed upon renewables, and the resulting impact this has on investors and developers, continued work is needed. Similarly, the region’s energy efficiency target requires “effective implementation of energy efficiency measures as well as a rapid change in consumer behaviour.”
“Our report ‘Trends and projections in Europe 2016’ shows that the EU’s 2020 targets on energy and climate are now well within reach. But certain trends are alarming, in particular for transport. In that sector, renewable energy use remains insufficient and greenhouse gas emissions are rising again,” said Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director. “The way forward is clear: Member States must step up national ambition and efforts to achieve the 2020 and 2030 EU targets, and to keep the EU on a path to a low-carbon, competitive and circular economy by 2050.”
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