The energy transition is the key to Europe’s future

Europe is taking active steps towards the energy transition towards a sector based on clean and low-carbon sources. This change will help better protect the environment and will have a positive impact for generations to come. In 2020, the EU reached an important milestone in its climate and energy targets. This was marked by a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 1990 levels, increasing the share of renewable energy used to 20% and improving energy efficiency by 20%.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe still managed to reduce emissions through strong climate action, as the analysis indicates. EEA “Trends and Projections”.

Meeting the targets set for 2030 and 2050 will require EU Member States to make significant progress on their existing initiatives. It is essential to go beyond what is already being done to achieve these goals.

Towards climate neutrality

The European Green Deal has proposed a law that sets a mandatory net reduction target of at least 55% by 2030. This would allow the entire EU to strive for climate neutrality.

To limit global warming, we must reach net zero emissions by 2050, which means that the remaining emissions must be balanced by an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide removal.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has made it even more evident that we need to start relying on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power to ensure energy security. This energy transition would lessen dependence on fossil fuels and promote a greener future.

REPOWEREU aims to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and accelerate its shift to green energy. This plan outlines effective strategies to help achieve that goal. The European Commission has proposed to increase the share of renewable energy to 45% by 2030 and increase energy savings from 9% to 13%, compared to the EU 2020 reference scenario, under this plan.

Progress to 2030

The EEA recently reported that the EU’s net greenhouse gas emissions have declined by 28% since 1990. This includes carbon sequestration, such as by forests, which helps offset emissions. Therefore, the EU must make faster and more intensive emission reductions if it wants to reach the 55% target by 2030.

The EEA’s ‘Trends and Forecasts’ report suggests that Europe should increase its investment in renewable energy sources. They must consume more energy used for heating, cooling and transportation. This is essential for Europe to move forward with an energy transition. It is essential to use alternatives to coal or lignite in energy production, as they have a negative impact on the environment. Using gas instead can help reduce its harmful effects.

There is an urgent need to reduce energy consumption at a faster rate than before. To meet the European Union’s 2030 energy efficiency target, reductions in energy consumption must occur faster than between 2005 and 2020. some of the measures to be taken.

But efforts must be made in all economic sectors for this energy transition to be successful. Citizens have the possibility to reduce energy use in their own homes by making simple adjustments, such as turning off thermostats in the winter and reducing the use of air conditioners in the summer.

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The state of Europe’s energy transition today

In 2020, the EU saw its energy sources come mainly from five different sources. World statistics show that the renewable energy, biomass, nuclear power, natural gas and oil account for most of the available energy. Petroleum products, including crude oil (about 35%); natural gas (24%); renewable energy (17%); nuclear energy (13%) and solid fossil fuels such as coal (12%).

Despite being part of the EU, Member States have different energy consumption patterns. In 2020, petroleum products accounted for over 85% of the total energy supply in Cyprus and Malta. Italy had 40% of its energy coming from natural gas, France used nuclear energy to generate 41% of its total energy and Sweden had almost half of its total energy coming from renewable sources.

Many factors play a role in deciding a nation’s energy mix, from available natural resources such as forests, biomass and rivers, to the potential use of solar and wind energy. The use of certain technologies has stagnated many countries in the past for long periods of time. Also, connection to large electrical grids and ties to neighboring countries affect the likelihood of exporting or importing products.

According to 2020 data, the EU provided 42% of its domestic energy needs, while 60% was imported. Russia has historically been the main supplier of these imports and continues to be. In 2020, the EU was highly dependent on fossil fuels for energy consumption: 29% of crude oil, 43% of natural gas and 54% of solid fuels, mainly coal, came from the region. Some EU countries have been more dependent on Russian energy than others, making them exceptionally prone to energy crises and sharp price fluctuations.

Keeping the target but increasing the pace

In 2019, the European Union launched the ambitious Green Deal to support sustainable development and ensure social justice. Since then, the importance of these goals has been reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Studies and assessments carried out by the European Environment Agency suggest that Europe must move quickly towards more sustainable production and consumption systems. To make the energy system greener and more sustainable, it is important to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and use more renewable energy sources. In addition, we must also ensure that we use energy wisely, minimizing waste and consumption.

Moving to a circular economy is a way to reduce and optimize the use of resources, which in turn can help bring Europe closer to its climate and energy targets. By extending the lifespan of products and materials or using more recyclables, we can generate huge ecological benefits.

Achieving these targets would translate into reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and put them on track to become climate neutral by 2050. However, the benefits of energy savings are quickly apparent, especially for household budgets. Making the switch to renewable energy sources for electricity generation is incredibly beneficial. Not only does this help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it also has other benefits such as improving air and water quality and preserving the earth.

With information from eea.europa.eu

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