N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
Since adopting the first environmental action programme in 1973, the EU has monitored the implementation of ‘green laws’. Recently, with its annual report, the EEA (the EU’s Environmental Agency) presents EU policymakers a bad report. The 2030 climate goal of cutting emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels seems to be reachable, but many other green targets are lagging behind.
For instance the target of sequestering an extra 310 million tonnes of CO2 will be missed by 50 million (!) tonnes. The reason, according to the agency, is ‘increased harvest of wood as well as lower carbon sequestration by ageing forests’. Three member states -Denmark, The Netherlands and Ireland- are projected to emit 130 million tonnes of CO2, will emit more than in the period 2013-2020.
On energy-saving metrics, the EU is also not doing well. Achieving the energy efficiency target of cutting primary consumption to below 11.542 Terawatt-hours and 8.700 TWh of final use is looking ‘very unlikely’, according to the EEA. Ensuring that 45% of that energy is renewable by 2030 is similarly looking ‘unlikely’.
‘A deep transformation of the EU energy system would be needed within this decade if the target is to be met’, the agency writes. The EU also doesn’t get a positive grade on many other indicators, like, for example, organic farming, more efficient domestic transport or recycling materials.
‘Our analysis shows that the EU needs to urgently strengthen actions to meet its environment and climate ambitions by 2030’, concludes the EEA’s executive director Leena Yla-Mononen. It sounds like a great and necessary New Year’s resolution for the EU and its member states.