In a demonstration of its resolve in pushing green energy, the European Union determined on June 14 to raise the targeted share of green energy to 32% by 2030, up from original 27%, which environmentalists still criticize is insufficient, though.
According to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change passed on Dec. 2015, the EU pledge to cut greenhouse-gas emission by 40% to the 1990 level by 2030, setting a goal of 27% share accordingly. Mighuel Arias Cañete, EU climate action and energy commissioner, pointed out that the new goal is conducive to attainment of the Paris Agreement target by the EU, in addition to creating new job openings and lowering energy cost and import. It will also slash consumption of primary biomass energy (note 1), as the 28 EU member nations, the European Parliament, and the European Commission has agreed to have renewable energy account for over 14% of transportation fuel in Europe by 2030, while capping the share of primary biomass fuel for cars, buses, and rail transportation at 7% by 2020. In addition, the agreement calls for enhancing the share of second-generation biomass energy and marsh gas-fired power in Europe to at least 1% by 2025, rising to 3.5% by 2030, on top of gradual reduction of the use of palm oil.
The new goal resulted from 18 months of negotiation in the European Commission and is what some renewable energy and energy firms dubbed as a "well-balanced compromise," among proposals of various member nations, including 30% of the United Kingdom, 32% of France, and 33-35% of Italy and Spain, but is lower than 35% put forth by the European Parliament in Jan. 2018. Some green-energy advocates believe that the 32% goal is meaningless, as some member nations have been approaching the figure now, adding that the EU will still treat biomass energy as renewable energy.
Sebastian Mang of Green Peace noted that despite its expected effect on increasing the installation of household solar-energy devices, the new goal is overly low, as a result of which power companies may stick to fossil fuel or other erroneous solutions.
The new goal needs approval by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
(Written by Daisy Chuang; pixelchecker via Flickr CC BY 2.0)
Note: Primary biomass energy is made from maize, sugar cane, and vegetable oil, all of which are edible, leading to the concern of food waste. Second-generation biomass energy is more earth friendly, as it is made from inedible biomass materials, such as wood, straw, and farming wastes. However, without adequate source management, second-generation biomass energy could also be harmful to the environment.