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EU members reach renewable targets early

Three reach goals early, while three others within shouting distance.

By Daniel J. Graeber

BRUSSELS, March 10 (UPI) -- Three members of the European Union have already achieved their renewable energy goals for 2020, the European statistics office said Tuesday.

EU member states are obligated to use renewable resources for 20 percent of final their energy consumption by 2020. Eurostat reported Bulgaria, Estonia and Sweden reached their targets five years ahead of schedule.

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"Moreover, Lithuania, Romania and Italy are less than 0.5 percentage points from their 2020 targets," the statistics office said in a report.

European member states account for about 11 percent of the global emissions. Combined, EU members last year used renewable energy for 15 percent of their energy needs, up about half from 2004, the first full year for which data are available.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year found carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, from the combustion of fossil fuels accounted for 78 percent of the total emissions increase from 1970 to 2010.

The IPCC said warming trends could slow under a scenario in which renewable energy grows from roughly 30 percent of the energy share to 80 percent by 2050.

The EU last year upped the ante, agreeing in October on policies aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, increasing the renewable energy footprint by 27 percent and enhancing energy efficiency by 27 percent from a 1990 benchmark by 2040.

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Eurostat said Sweden had the highest share of energy from renewable resources, while Luxembourg had the lowest.

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