Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Members of the European Union remain dependent on fossil fuels even with robust low-carbon policies, the bloc's record-keeping arm reported.
European energy consumption was below its peak from 2006 by a little more than 11 percent, Eurostat reported. Nearly 75 percent of that demand, however, was supported by fossil fuels.
Two years ago, greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union were 22 percent below a benchmark set to 1990 levels, beating the bloc's goal ahead of schedule. The share of renewable energy on the collective grid is 16 percent, based on 2014 data, with three years left to the end of the 2020 agenda.
The region already has plans to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, by at least 40 percent by 2030. Fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy by far, although usage rates have declined steadily in the 15-year period ending in 2015.
"However, over this period, EU dependency on imports of fossils fuels has increased, with 73 percent imported in 2015 compared with just over half in 1990," Eurostat reported.
By country, Germany is the largest energy consumer in the EU, but also is among the leaders in renewable energy use. Denmark, meanwhile, cut its fossil fuel consumption the most over the 15 year period, moving from 91 percent to 69 percent.
"However, the large majority of member states remains highly reliant on fossil fuels for their energy consumption," the report read.
Since 1990, the regional gross domestic product grew by 50 percent, while emissions declined 22 percent, showing the European economy was decoupling from fossil fuels.
In January, Werner Hoyer, the president of the European Investment Bank, called on the broader European community to "lead the free world against the climate skeptics." By embracing a low-carbon economy, the bloc has cut its import bills for fossil fuels by $17 billion since climate benchmarks were adopted.