EU 2020 Renewable Energy Goals Insufficient

1 / 2012

It is clear that any action to combat climate change must involve extensive efforts in reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the energy sector. In the EU, nearly 80% of total GHG emissions come from the energy sector (European Commission, 2011, p. 21). Any credible action within the EU on combating climate change therefore requires deep shifts in the way we produce and use our energy. This paper highlights that renewable energy policies to 2020 are insufficient to meet the EU’s long-term climate policy objectives of reducing GHG emissions by between 80 and 95% by 2050, and thereby aiming to avoid an increase in global temperatures of more than 2°C. Such an ambition would likely require a very high share of renewable energy (in the range of 80 to 100%) in the overall energy mix of the EU, given current uncertainties about the feasibility of potential technological developments (e.g. carbon capture and storage technology).