European Union Sets New Targets For Renewable Energy, GHG Emissions

At the last UN Climate Summit, participating countries agreed to arrive at the 2015 treaty meeting with concrete climate targets in hand that would be implemented no later than 2020. To get the ball rolling, the European Commission announced its goals last week.

The EU set a new binding target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40% (below 1990 levels) by 2030 while getting 27% of its energy from renewable energy by then (which can include nuclear energy). A target for energy efficiency is still under review. The plan costs an estimated $52 billion a year.

Since the Kyoto Protocol was first developed, the EU has led the world on both counts – cutting GHG emissions and ramping up renewable energy, mostly solar and wind. In 2010, it adopted a much stronger 20/20/20 plan: cut GHG emissions 20%, raise renewable energy to 20% and increase energy efficiency 20% by 2020. Each country has binding goals in accordance with its circumstances.

The EU is on track for two of three targets – surprisingly, energy efficiency is the laggard. GHG emissions are down 18% from 1990 levels, during a time when economic output has grown 45%, says Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.

Across the EU, renewable energy produces 12.7% of all energy consumption – electricity, heating and transportation – and countries like Germany and Spain exceed 20%. In contrast, the figure for the US is about 9.5%. — Full Story at Sustainable Business

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