The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Re-Energizing Europe: How the EU Can Go 100 Percent Renewable
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched a new report this week—Putting the EU on Track for 100% Renewable Energy—which shows where Europe needs to be by 2030 in order to reach a fully renewable energy system by 2050. It comes just as the European Commission is beginning to consider post-2020 climate and energy plans.
By 2030, the European Union (EU) could be reducing its energy use by more than a third and generate almost half of the remainder from renewables. The post-2020 climate and energy policies needed to deliver this vision would help the EU to reduce its external fossil fuel bill and cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half.
Coming amid an increasingly active debate over what should follow current EU climate and energy legislation (the 20-20-20 package), WWF’s report adapts the WWF Global 2050 Energy Scenario to the EU27 level and shows that by 2030 the EU could:
- use at least 38 percent less energy compared to a business as usual projection
- generate more than 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources
- by doing both, reduce its energy related greenhouse emissions by 50 percent compared to 1990 levels.
As Europe’s economies struggle to recover, renewable energy and energy savings are beacons of hope. Almost eight out of 10 Europeans agree that fighting climate change can boost the economy and create jobs and 70 percent of Europeans believe investment in renewable energy should be prioritized over the next 30 years, compared to alternative energy sources including shale gas, nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants.
“Improving on Europe’s 2020 climate and energy targets by introducing an ambitious package of post-2020 measures is a win-win situation for everyone. It would not only help reduce the impact of climate change, including huge health and environmental costs, but it would also help to generate up to 5 million jobs, significantly boosting the economy,” said Jason Anderson, head of Climate & Energy at WWF European Policy Office.
However, to keep Europe on track, on-going effort and strong political will are needed. The timely adoption of a coherent package of ambitious and binding post-2020 targets for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions reductions is key.
“We must now decide how our energy system will develop after 2020, so that current benefits are maximised, not squandered”, added Anderson. “Our report clearly shows that the EU has untapped potential for cutting energy use, taking full advantage of renewable sources that could deliver cheaper and more secure energy, and ensuring that a 100 percent renewable European energy system by 2050 remains within reach.”
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
by Jordan Davidson
Taking action to stop the mercury from rising is a matter of life and death in the U.S., according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.
By Alisa Opar
For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn't just strong — it's imperative. And for the first time in more than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from California's San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual spring run.
By Jessica Corbett
Dozens of students, parents, teachers and professionals joined a Friday protest organized by Extinction Rebellion that temporarily stalled morning rush-hour traffic in London's southeasten borough of Lewisham to push politicians to more boldly address dangerous air pollution across the city.
Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Moment / Getty Images
By Bridget Shirvell
On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn't just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds and snack bars; they're also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.
By Jessica A. Knoblauch
Summers in the Midwest are great for outdoor activities like growing your garden or cooling off in one of the area's many lakes and streams. But some waters aren't as clean as they should be.
That's in part because coal companies have long buried toxic waste known as coal ash near many of the Midwest's iconic waterways, including Lake Michigan. Though coal ash dumps can leak harmful chemicals like arsenic and cadmium into nearby waters, regulators have done little to address these toxic sites. As a result, the Midwest is now littered with coal ash dumps, with Illinois containing the most leaking sites in the country.