EU countries at risk of missing 2030 emissions target claims report

European Union Member States are currently 10 per cent shy of the 40 per cent greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction target set for 2030, according to new research from European Environment Agency (EEA).

Rising energy consumption is hampering progress on the share of energy generated by renewable sources and on energy efficiency, claims the report, with the transport sector remaining a concern with rising GHG emissions, low uptake of renewable energy sources and insufficient reductions of transport fuels’ life-cycle emissions.

The EEA claims that meeting the 2020 energy efficiency target appears increasingly difficult, estimating that final energy consumption — energy consumed by end users — in the EU in 2018 grew for the fourth consecutive year, by 0.1 per cent.

The analysis states that the increase of over eight per cent in final energy consumption within buildings from 2014 to 2018 is a “worrying overall trend,” while noting that estimates indicate primary energy consumption — total energy demand — decreased by just under one per cent last year.

The EEA research also highlights that despite the overall trends and the risk of missing the 2020 energy efficiency target at EU level, several Member States have demonstrated notable progress in this area.

Furthermore, the report argues that although the target to increase the share of renewables in final energy consumption to 20 per cent in the EU by 2020 is “within reach,” with the overall share of renewables totaling 18 per cent in 2018, the transport sector produced just 7.6 per cent of its energy from renewable sources in 2017 and an estimated 8.1 per cent in 2018, leaving the sector at risk of missing the 10 per cent target set for 2020.

“The share of renewable energy is not yet increasing fast enough to reach the EU target of 32 per cent by 2030,” states the report.

“According to our analysis, the share of renewables has been growing at an average rate of 0.7 percentage points every year but, over the next decade, the increase needs to be at least 1.1 percentage points per year on average.”

In addition, the EEA analysis notes that Member States’ current policies can deliver only a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, while implementing all reported planned policies could bring the total reduction to 36 per cent.

Based on 2019 reports to the EEA, only Greece, Portugal and Sweden expect to reach their 2030 Effort Sharing targets on time with current policies and measures in place, while seven other Member States, including France, Italy and Spain, project to achieve their targets with additional policies.

However, the report highlights that the EU cut its GHG emissions by 2 per cent in 2018.

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