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Policy can put the EU on track to reach 100 per cent renewable energy, says report

WWF report shows on-going effort and strong political will is needed to help Europe meet target

The WWF report says post-2020 climate and energy policies are needed to deliver its renewable energy vision and help the EU reduce its EUR 573bn external fossil fuel bill

A report has been launched which shows the EU is on track to reach 100 per cent of renewable energy. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has launched the report called, 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 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 EUR 573bn 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, WWF’s report adapts the WWF Global 2050 Energy Scenario to the EU27 level. It shows that by 2030 the EU could use at least 38 per cent less energy compared to a business as usual projection and generate more than 40 per cent of its energy from renewable sources. By doing both it could reduce its energy related greenhouse emissions by 50 per cent compared to 1990 levels. 

The WWF said as Europe’s economies struggle to recover, renewable energy and energy savings are “beacons of hope”. Almost 8 out of 10 Europeans agree that fighting climate change can boost the economy and create jobs, while 70 per cent of Europeans believe investment in renewable energy should be prioritised over the next 30 years.

Jason Anderson, head of climate & energy at WWF European Policy Office said: “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.”

However, the WWF said 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”, said 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 per cent renewable European energy system by 2050 remains within reach.”