Copenhagen (dpa) – The European Union is well on track to meet two of its three 2020 climate goals. According to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) published in Copenhagen, the 27 countries (plus the UK) could succeed in two areas:
– in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
– and in promoting renewable energy sources.
– It is unclear whether the third goal, reducing energy consumption, will be achieved.
Greenhouse gas emissions have declined steadily since 1990, according to the report. In the period from 1990 to 2019, the level fell by 24 percent. The original target by 2020 was a 20 percent reduction from 1990. Above all, the rapid decarbonisation of the energy sector has led to significant and sustained emission reductions in the sectors covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).
The highest drop of four percent was achieved in 2019, before the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic. This happened during a period of economic growth and reflects long-term, sustained efforts to cut emissions, the report said. It is estimated that 12 countries are below their targets, including Germany, Austria and Poland.
When it comes to promoting renewable energy sources, EU countries are also on the right track, the report continues. Preliminary EEA data indicated that the total share of energy consumption from renewable sources in 2019 was 19.4 percent. The target for 2020 is 20 percent. While the share of renewables in electricity, heating and cooling has contributed to the overall EU target, the 10 percent target is still a long way off in the transport sector. 14 Member States are encouraged to make further efforts. The raised index finger is also pointed at Germany here.
The agency would also like to see more done to reduce energy consumption. According to their estimates, only nine of the 27 Member States are on the right track here. “All other Member States need to make further efforts to contain their national energy needs and meet their 2020 targets.”
However, the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to make it easier for countries to achieve their goals. The economic downturn has mainly reduced activity in the transport sector and possibly reduced overall energy consumption. To what extent has not yet been calculated. However, environmentalists fear that “the effects of Covid-19-related potential reductions could be short-lived and that emissions will recover when economic activity returns to pre-Covid levels.”
The agency warned that, despite the positive development, sustained and sustained efforts are needed to achieve the 2030 and 2050 goals. Frans Timmermans, EU Commissioner for Climate Protection, also sees no reason to shrug. In a communication he said: “The European Union proves that it is possible to reduce emissions while the economy grows. Today’s report reaffirms that we need to step up our efforts across all economic sectors to achieve our common goal of climate neutrality by 2050. “