According to the European Environment Agency, the European Union is already close to its 2020 climate objectives as it has decreased its emissions by no less than 18 percent between 1990 and 2012.
Additionally, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and many others were already accounting for 13 percent of the energy mix in 2011.
The European Union have a comprehensive energy and climate plan as it has three objectives : 1. to slash its greenhouses gases emissions by 20 percent from 1990 to 2020 ; 2. to increase its energy efficiency by 20 percent ; 3. to increase its share of renewable energy sources to 20 percent of the mix by 2020.
Overall, emissions fell by almost one percent in 2012 alone. Over the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – from 2008 to 2012 – the first 15 EU members saw their emissions decrease by 12.2 percent, compared to a Kyoto objective of 8 percent.
As the European Environment Agency notes, almost all EU member states as well as other nations of the continent such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are on track to reaching their individual climate targets.
We have noted here time and again that the EU is well on its way toward reaching its emissions reduction goals well in advance of 2020, so these news aren’t surprising. The trend just continues on its way.
Last year we have reported that a narrow majority ( but a majority nonetheless ) of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) had called for 30 percent cuts by 2020 ahead of the climate talks. This most unfortunately hadn’t been followed.
The MEPs who voted for such cuts believe that cutting EU emissions by 20 percent wouldn’t be sufficient to prevent global temperatures to warm by just 2°C, the maximum increase according to many scientific bodies including the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
As unemployment in the EU is higher than last year by half a million people – there are 26.595 million men and women who are unemployment to official recent figures – one would think that it is high time to start getting serious on renewable energy sources and other clean technologies.
We have seen previously that cleantech is more job creating than fossil fuels : to data gathered by the University of Massachusetts, investing one million dollars can create five jobs in natural gas, seven in coal, 13 in wind power, 14 in solar, 16 in biomass, 17 in building retrofits and a huge 22 jobs in mass transit and light rail.
To conclude this article, it is high time for the European Union to take the lead again on climate as the threat is even clearer as the latest IPCC report has shown last month.