Progress in energy conservation and renewable energy sources is determinant for the transition towards a prosperous, sustainable and climate-compatible European economy

Our quality of life depends, among other things, on a reliable supply of energy at an affordable price. But energy production and use place significant pressures on the environment, as we chiefly rely on fossil fuels and waste a substantial part of this energy before and during use. Energy activities give rise to greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, land use, waste generation and oil spills, contributing to climate change, damage of natural ecosystems and of the built environment, and adverse effects on human health. We therefore need to consume less energy and step up the clean energy transition that is already unfolding across Europe.

Renewable energy impacts dashboard

This viewer shows estimates of the impacts of renewable energy consumption since 2005 on the use of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and air pollutants.

The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) preliminary data on the European Union’s (EU) greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 show close to a 4 % decrease, compared with 2018. The only time EU emissions decreased more since 1990 was during to the economic crisis in 2009. In addition, new EEA data for 2019 show that EU stays on track to end the use of chemicals harming the ozone layer.

The European Union (EU) cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 23.2 % from 1990 to 2018, according to latest official data, published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Over the period, the EU’s contribution to global emissions is estimated to have decreased from 15 % to 8 %. In 2018, the EU’s emissions decreased by 2.1 %, confirming the EEA’s preliminary estimates published in October 2019.

Growth in renewable energy use since 2005 has been instrumental in reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the European Union (EU), according to a briefing published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Many renewables, including those sourced from wind, solar geothermal energy or heat pumps, are also effective in cutting air pollutant emissions but the results are mixed when biomass replaces fossil fuel burning, especially in households.

Published: 29 May 2020

This report analyses the developments of the official EU data submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 1990 to 2018. It also provides a short summary of the results for 2018 compared with those for 2017.

Published: 19 Dec 2019

The European energy system is undergoing rapid changes to set the EU economy on a low-carbon and resource-efficient path. Renewable energy is instrumental to this transformation. EU efforts to double the share of renewable energy in its consumption have paid off, having reduced significantly the amount of fossil fuels used and their associated greenhouse gas emissions. Concerning air pollutant emissions however, the outcomes were not always positive: in countries where biomass burning has increased considerably since 2005, emissions of certain air pollutants have also increased. This briefing presents an estimate of the impact of renewable energy consumption on fossil fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and air pollution since 2005.

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