Last week the European Commission released its 2030 energy goals: a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels. The 2020 goal called for a 20% reduction, so the new goal seems draconian, but if one takes into account the current reduction trend, the EU only needs to achieve a 32% reduction by 2030. Environmental activists see this as a backing away from true energy progressivism but investors have reacted positively to the new goals.
The Commission furthermore did not set any national targets for renewable energy, no doubt responding to member states’ grumbling about mandatory subsidies. As the EU continues to fight its way through recession and resulting political backlash, it will have to balance its progressive energy ambitions with economic competitiveness as well as member state demands with the internets of the bloc as a whole..The European Union has long been on the cutting edge of sustainability, setting some of the most ambitious renewable energy goals, notably the 20/20/20 Climate and Energy Package. The 20/20/20 plan, adopted in 2008, set four aims: to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020, to increase energy efficiency to save 20% of EU energy consumption by 2020, to ensure that 20% of total EU energy consumption is renewable by 2020, and to raise the consumption of biofuels to comprise 10% of vehicle consumption by 2020.
A March 2013 progress report showed that since the adoption of the directive, which required member states to implement its requirements into their national legislation, most member states did significantly increase their renewable energy consumption. Currently, 12.7% of EU energy consumption is renewable, but the trend is plateauing as all the easy initial changes have been made.
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