EU ‘largely on track’ to meet carbon and energy targets

The European Union reduced emissions by approximately 18% between 1990 and 2012 and is on track to meeting its 20% emissions reduction target by 2020, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report.

Considering EU progress in meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets, the report, Trends and projections in Europe 2013, shows that the EU is also on track towards its common target for renewable energy consumption.

Renewables contributed 13% of final energy consumption in 2011, which should increase to 20% by 2020.

The collective primary energy consumption of the EU is expected to decrease towards the political objective of 20% reduction by 2020, although more policies are needed at Member State level.

While the assessment of Member State progress shows overall relatively good progress towards climate and energy targets, no single Member State is on track towards meeting all three targets. Equally, no Member State is underperforming in all three areas.

Despite the mixed progress across the region, the EU as a whole could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21% by 2020 with the set of national measures already adopted.

EEA executive director, Hans Bruyninckx, said: “EEA’s latest analysis confirms that renewable energy and energy efficiency are having a significant effect on bringing down emissions. We must keep building on this success – to achieve the emissions cuts demanded by science, Member States must ensure that they are not making choices today that become obstacles to a low carbon future.”

The 15 Member States with a common commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (EU-15) are estimated to have reduced emissions between 2008 and 2012 by 12.2%, well beyond the 8% target required under the Kyoto Protocol.

In addition, almost all European countries with an individual greenhouse gas reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol (26 Member States of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) were on track towards their respective targets.

Leigh Stringer

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