The EU and Climate Targets

Climate change targets in the European Union are on track to be met by 2020. Of the 28 countries in the EU, 11 of them have not only met their targets but surpassed them. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for all countries with some bringing up the rear. This means that for them to meet their intended 2020 and 2030 targets they will need an extra push to get there.

Leading the way for the EU are Sweden, Finland and Denmark. These countries have made a difference from the beginning with over half of their energy coming from renewables by 2012. Finland and Denmark’s main source is hydroelectric power which produces around 40 percent of the country’s overall usage. Biofuels are used as the main source of heat in Sweden.

In the EU, the countries with the lowest percent of renewables are Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Whilst investments have been made by these countries, they are far from reaching their targets and have been very much left behind by the rest of the EU. The Netherland’s biggest investment has been in offshore windfarms and they were also ordered by a court in 2015 to reduce their greenhouse gasses by 25%.  Despite this, the percentage of renewables remains at 6.6 percent and 6.4% in both the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

If you compare the Netherland’s mere 6.6% to France, you will see how far they have yet to come, France having a total of 16.3% of consumption that comes from renewables. France has a target of 23% for 2020. Biofuels are not the leading source of renewable energy in France, which instead favours wood and hydro power. The country has heavily invested in Nuclear, leading to 70% of electricity coming from this source. By 2022, the plan is for all of that to change. The government has promised to shut down 14 nuclear power plants along with its active coal plants in favour of renewable sources.

Another country planning on fazing out coal usage is Germany. In Germany, coal has always been, and continues to be, a major leader in the industry. The country’s policies now focus on cutting down its coal usage, currently 37% of electricity and 30% of heating coming from coal. This will need to be done over the next few years, being reduced gradually to ensure climate targets are met.

Each country’s targets are based on their individual situations, so all are different. However, they are all expected to meet these targets by 2025. The targets range from 10 – 14 %.

Eurostat said:

 “While the EU as a whole is on course to meet its 2020 targets, some member states will need to make additional efforts to meet their obligations.”