Many European countries have established targets for 2020 for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, for increasing the use of renewable energy or for reducing energy consumption.

An overview of these targets can be found here for greenhouse gas emissions, here for renewables and here for energy efficiency.

The European Union has set several targets for 2020:

  • an overall target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% as compared to 1990 emissions;
  • a subtarget to reduce emissions in the 11'000 biggest industrial and power installations through an EU wide Emissions Trading Scheme, by 21% as compared to 2005 emissions;
  • a subtarget to reduce emissions in the sectors not covered by the ETS, by 10% as compared to 2005 emissions (Effort Sharing Decision). This subtarget is divided into national binding targets for each Member States, spanning from -20% for the richest countries and +20% (so allowing increasing emissions) for the poorest countries;
  • a target to increase the amount of energy produced from renewables sources to 20% of all energy consumed. This target is divided into binding targets for all Member States;
  • a target to reduce energy consumption by 20% as compared to projected consumption. This target is not divided amongst Member States.

Overall, the EU is on track to achieve its targets and in particular to largely overshoot its greenhouse gas emission reduction target. Nevertheless several EU Member States are not on track to achieve their national targets for non-ETS emissions. The same can be said for efforts to achieve the binding renewables and non binding efficiency targets. The European Environment Agency in its 2014 progress report states:

  • 24 EU countries are on track to meet their GHG targets (all except Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg);
  • 20 EU countries are on track to achieve their renewable energy targets (all except Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom);
  • 20 EU countries are on track to achieve their energy efficiency targets (all except Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden);

The overachievement of the greenhouse gas target, and in particular of the Emissions Trading Scheme target is posing many problems in terms of the collapse of the price of carbon as well as of reducing the level of ambition of the 2030 Climate and Energy Targets.

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