Driving to an electric future?

A quiet change is under way on European roads. The use of electric vehicles is projected to take off across Europe. It is a move that could help pave the way to a greener road transport system, but one that could pose challenges in meeting energy demand and investing in relevant infrastructure.

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Making clean renewable energy happen

Investing in clean energy must go hand in hand with energy efficiency and energy savings. Innovative solutions can fundamentally change the way we produce, store, transport and use energy. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable and clean energy might affect communities dependent on fossil fuels in the short run. With targeted policies and investments in new professional skills, clean energy can provide new economic opportunities.

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Global and local: secure and affordable energy

Energy is a commodity traded in global markets. Lack of access to affordable energy sources, disruptions in energy flows, high import dependency and wild fluctuations in prices are all seen as potential weaknesses, impacting the economy and, consequently, the economic and social wellbeing of the communities affected. Can boosting the renewable energy capacity across Europe and the world change the rules of global energy politics? How does the EU’s Energy Union contribute?

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Interview — Energy efficiency benefits us all

Potential gains from improving energy efficiency are substantial — not only in terms of saving energy and combating climate change, but also in terms of contributing to an array of other co-benefits, including improving human health and creating jobs. We asked Tim Farrell, Senior Advisor at the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency, what works best when it comes to boosting energy efficiency. He stressed that targeted policy measures and sufficient resources to support implementation and compliance are among a number of critical ingredients for success.

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Interview — Growing food or fuel on our land?

Only a decade ago, biofuel production from plants was hailed as an ecological alternative to fossil fuels. Recently, it has come to be seen as competing with food production and not always an effective solution in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases or air pollutants. We talked to Irini Maltsoglou, Natural Resources Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about biofuel production and agriculture and if and how it can be done sustainably.

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Energy in Europe — State of play

European countries consume less energy compared with 10 years ago, mainly due to energy efficiency gains. Europe also relies less on fossil fuels due to energy savings and the faster-than-expected uptake of renewable energy. In the decade 2005-2015, the share of renewables in the EU’s energy consumption nearly doubled, from 9 % to almost 17 %. Some sectors and countries are leading the way towards clean energy. Despite their declining share of the market, however, fossil fuels continue to be the dominant energy source in Europe.

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Energy and climate change

Mitigating and adapting to climate change are key challenges of the 21st century. At the core of these challenges is the question of energy — more precisely, our overall energy consumption and our dependence on fossil fuels. To succeed in limiting global warming, the world urgently needs to use energy efficiently while embracing clean energy sources to make things move, heat up and cool down. The European Union policies play an important role in facilitating this energy transition.

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Shaping the future of energy in Europe: Clean, smart and renewable

Our quality of life depends, among other things, on a reliable supply of energy at an affordable price. We use energy to heat and cool our homes, to cook and preserve our food, to travel and to build schools, hospitals and roads. We use machines to carry out numerous tasks, contributing to our wealth and wellbeing, and machines need energy. We still burn fossil fuels to obtain most of the energy we use. Moreover, we waste a substantial part of this energy before and during use.

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Beyond Paris: making low-carbon economy happen

Last December in Paris, the world set itself an ambitious target: limiting the global average temperature rise well below 2 degrees, while aiming to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. At the G20 summit earlier this month, China and the United States announced their formal commitment to join the Paris agreement. This is a major step forward for the international effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming. Nevertheless, the current reduction commitments made so far by signatory countries are not sufficient to meet this ambitious target.

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Electric vehicles: moving towards a sustainable mobility system

Modern society depends on the movement of goods and people, but our current transport systems have negative impacts on human health and the environment. We spoke to Magdalena Jóźwicka, project manager of an upcoming report on electric vehicles, about the environmental advantages and challenges of using electricity as an alternative to conventional fuels for vehicles.

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Renewable energy: key to Europe’s low-carbon future

The future looks bright for renewable energy sources which are playing an increasingly important role as Europe tries to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. We talked about the opportunities and challenges ahead for clean energy with Mihai Tomescu, energy expert at the European Environment Agency.

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Can transport come to TERMs with its environmental impact?

With the recent publication of the EEA’s annual Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) for 2015, and with international attention focusing on the ongoing vehicle emissions scandal, we spoke with the EEA’s TERM coordinator, Alfredo Sánchez Vicente.

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Renewable energy 2000 to 2010 — from toddler to teen

The renewable energy sector has developed a lot the last ten years — a largely ignored toddler has become a wilful teenager. Decisions that can help it mature further will depend on understanding what has nurtured its growth so far.

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The electric car — a green transport revolution in the making?

The electric car finally seems to be on the verge of breaking through, offering significant environmental benefits, especially in urban areas. Innovative business models are on the way which should boost consumer acceptance and overcome the remaining barriers, such as high battery costs, green electricity supply and charging infrastructure.

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Urban frontrunners — cities and the fight against global warming

Barcelona is becoming a leader in solar energy use, Malmö is developing a carbon neutral residential area and London is setting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. Cities are joining in the fight against climate change.

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The water we eat — irrigated agriculture's heavy toll

Agriculture imposes a heavy and growing burden on Europe's water resources, threatening water shortages and damage to ecosystems. To achieve sustainable water use, farmers must be given the right price incentives, advice and assistance.

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If bioenergy goes boom — the switch from oil to bioenergy is not risk free

Bioenergy is not new. For millennia, people have been burning wood. The industrial revolution in the mid-1800s brought so called 'fossil fuels', mainly coal and oil, to the fore. However, fossil fuels are becoming more difficult to find and extract, more expensive, and subject to intense political debate.

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Bioenergy and biofuels: the big picture

The findings and expertise of the European Environment Agency (EEA) on the subject of biofuels highlight that bioenergy can play an important role in combating climate change, specifically if biomass is used for heating and electricity. However, increasing production and use of first-generation agrofuels risks not achieving the required global and EU greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions and can lead to adverse effects on biodiversity, water and soil. In Europe and globally we need strong sustainability criteria for all energy uses of biomass, not only for agrofuels.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100