Despite progress, the European Union is still behind the curve in its programme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in industry and transport, a study said on Friday. In an assessment coinciding with the UN climate talks in Morocco, the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) gave the EU high marks in some areas. Carbon emissions from electricity production fell by 20.9 per cent between 2000 and 2014, and household energy consumption fell by 21.2 percent, relative to living area, from 2000 to 2013.
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“Despite this progress, the EU is currently ‘off-track’ to achieve its objectives by 2030 and 2050,” IDDRI warned.
The EU as a bloc has pledged to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. This is a stepping stone to a planned reduction of 80-95 percent by 2050, again compared with the 1990 benchmark.
The IDDRI report said headway in curbing EU emissions could be attributed to “cyclical effects” — the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and the slow recovery from it — rather than a long-term carbon strategy.
“Europe has made significant progress, but new sectoral policies are needed to ensure it can reach its long-term targets, especially in transport and industry,” IDDRI Director Teresa Ribera said.
In addition to setting ambitious emissions target for road transport for 2025, the EU should aim at ensuring that fleet procurement — one of the biggest sectors of the car market — be 100-per cent electric by that date.
The report called for a tougher goals in energy savings for 2030 and for measures to ensure that the EU’s carbon market — the emissions trading system — does not suffer a repeat of the price collapse of recent years.
It pointed the finger in particular at coal, which plays a large part in energy production in Europe.
“By 2030, unabated (use of) coal needs to drop by more than 50 percent to make way for low-carbon electricity sources,” it said.
The study was coordinated with seven other European research institutes, which trawled over national data, analysing the major sectors for carbon emissions.