Progress towards Europe’s climate and energy targets

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With sights now set on the new 2030 targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency, renewed efforts towards achieving these targets will be necessary.

Following the political agreements between the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission reached in June 2018, the EU now has full clarity on its climate and energy targets for 2030. These include:

• 40 % reduction in domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (compared with 1990 levels), with binding annual GHG emission reduction targets for EU Member States from 2021 to 2030

• Increase the share of renewable energy sources (RES) in the EU to at least 32 % of gross final energy consumption by 2030.

• Improve energy efficiency by at least a 32.5 % in 2030 at EU level (compared with the Commission’s 2007 Energy Baseline Scenario).

According to Member States’ most recent projections reported in 2017 and 2018, an EU-wide reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 may reach 30% below 1990 levels based on existing mitigation measures, and 32 % when additional planned mitigation measures are considered.

The projected reductions fall short of the 40 % domestic reduction target for 2030.

Achieving these targets will require new and focused efforts across Europe to address emissions in the Effort Sharing sectors (e.g. road transport, buildings and agriculture).

Increasing the current average pace of renewable energy deployment across Europe to 2030 would not enable the EU to achieve the new RES target of 32 % at the end of the next decade.

Good progress towards the energy efficiency targets was made between 2005 and 2014, but the pace has slowed in recent years as energy consumption has grown. This makes it more uncertain that the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency objectives and, to an even greater degree, the target for 2030 will be met.

Although the 2020 reduction target is still expected to be met, the policies and measures currently accounted for in national projections will not be enough to deliver the savings needed to achieve the EU’s reduction target of at least 40 % by 2030 (compared with 1990 levels).

• The latest official data show that the EU remains on track to exceed its 20 % GHG reduction target set for 2020 (compared with 1990 levels). In 2016, GHG emissions were 22 % lower than 1990 levels, and the new approximated data indicate that this increased again in 2017, although only moderately. National projections available from Member States indicate that EU GHG emissions are expected to remain below the 2020 target.

• The pace of GHG emission reductions is projected to slow after 2020. Continuing at this slower pace will not be sufficient to achieve the EU’s target of a 40 % domestic reduction by 2030 (compared with 1990 levels). Even assuming that the 2030 target is met, faster decreases in GHG emissions will be necessary to achieve an 80 %, or even a 95 %, decrease by 2050.

In 2018, only two Member States reported updates of their national GHG projections (Cyprus and Ireland). Therefore, the aggregated EU emissions did not change significantly compared with the aggregation conducted in 2017. According to these national projections, the EU’s GHG emissions are expected to decrease until at least 2035.

Data summary by Responsible-Investors.com

The information in this article is based on the latest data reported by European countries under the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (MMR). The countries submit their information to the EEA’s e-reporting environment.

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