European Union
European Union

European Union countries are collectively well on their way to meeting their 2020 targets on renewables, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, but more efforts should be made to achieve long-term targets, a European Environment Agency (EEA) report said on Thursday.

The 28 EU member states have lowered their energy consumption in recent years, despite a slight increase in 2015, and they are using more and more renewable energy, according to the report – Trends and Projections in Europe 2016: Tracking progress towards Europe climate and energy targets – published by the Copenhagen-based agency.

The report however noted that continuing current trends will fall short of longer term objectives.

“Member States must step up national ambition and efforts to achieve the 2020 and 2030 EU targets, and to keep the EU on a path to a low-carbon, competitive and circular economy by 2050,” said EEA executive director Hans Bruyninckx in the report.

Bruyninckx also noted that the EU’s 2020 targets on energy and climate are well within reach but certain trends are alarming, in particular for transport where renewable energy use remains insufficient and greenhouse gas emissions are rising again.

By 2020, 20 percent of the EU’s gross final energy consumption should come from renewable sources, and the EU’s 2020 target on energy efficiency corresponds to a 13 percent reduction of primary energy consumption compared with the 2005 level.

Preliminary estimates for 2015 show that the share of renewables in the EU’s final energy consumption continued to increase to a level of 16.4 percent, up from 16 percent in 2014, and the EU’s energy consumption in 2015 was 11 percent below 2005, despite a 1 percent increase between 2014 and 2015, according to the EEA report.

However, EU countries show an overall lack of ambition with regard to their 2020 energy efficiency targets, the report said.

To achieve the more ambitious longer-term energy and decarbonization goals set by the EU for 2050, current efforts will have to be considerably stepped up, according to the EEA report.

The report said regulatory changes affect investors’ confidence in renewables, while market barriers persist.

Similarly, effective implementation of energy efficiency measures as well as a rapid change in consumer behaviour are required to achieve the 2030 target on energy efficiency, according to the report. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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