The EU has long been a leader on emission regulation and climate change, with significant investments in solar and wind energy generation systems. Four years ago the EU announced its 20/20/20 plan to increase renewable energy generation by 20%, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, and increase energy efficiency by 20%. It is currently on track to meet two of those targets, with the energy efficiency goal still lagging behind.
It has already made substantial progress. Emissions have fallen 18% from 1990, while the economy has grown 45%. Renewable sources currently make up 12.7% of the EU’s energy consumption.
It was difficult to reach a unified target among the fragmented base of the EU, and the targets have received criticism from environmental activists and NGOs, hoping for more challenging targets. However, Frank Thies of the European Industry Photovoltaic Association, said “The Commissioner’s analysis clearly shows that renewables help reduce wholesale electricity prices, but those benefits aren’t being passed onto the final consumer.”
Further complaints were made that the agreement would also allow hydraulic fracturing wells for natural gas into the European Union for the first time.