The European Union (EU) cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2 % in 2018, according to preliminary estimates released by the European Environment Agency. However, rising energy consumption continues to hamper progress on energy efficiency.
The EEA report ‘Trends and projections in Europe 2019 — Tracking progress towards Europe’s climate and energy targets’ presents analysis of the EU progress towards the 2020 and 2030 targets for climate and energy. The analysis is based on official statistics on energy and GHG emissions up to 2017; preliminary data for 2018, including the ‘approximated EU GHG inventory’; and national projections of GHG emissions reported in 2019.
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. Seven other Member States (Belgium, Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Spain) project to achieve their targets with additional policies.
EU Emissions Trading System
Collectively, Member States’ projections with existing national policies indicate a 36 % cut in ETS emissions by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. This is not yet in line with the targeted contribution of a 43 % reduction, the EEA briefing notes.
The share of renewable energy is not yet increasing fast enough to reach the EU target of 32 % by 2030. According to the EEA 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.
The EEA estimates that final energy consumption — energy consumed by end users — in the EU in 2018 grew for the fourth consecutive year, by 0.1 %. The worrying overall trend is most prevalent in buildings, where final energy consumption increased by 8.3 % from 2014 to 2017. Moreover, to meet the 2030 target of 32.5 % reductions, EU energy consumption needs to decline more than twice as fast as it did from 2005 to 2017.
According to the EEA report, diesel continues to dominate fuel sales in the EU with 72.3 % of sales in 2017. The share of diesel as compared with petrol has increased over the years, from 55.6 % of total sales in 2001 to 72.3 % in 2017. All diesel sold in the EU contained biodiesel, whereas 87.6 % of petrol contained bioethanol.