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EU agrees on higher bar for renewable energy resources

Members of the European Parliament agreed on a provisional measure that would increase targets for renewable energy. The bloc's statistics office shows progress is already apparent, but U.N-backed agencies say this should be a global effort. File photo by European Union/ EP/UPI
1 of 2 | Members of the European Parliament agreed on a provisional measure that would increase targets for renewable energy. The bloc's statistics office shows progress is already apparent, but U.N-backed agencies say this should be a global effort. File photo by European Union/ EP/UPI | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- From biofuels to hydrogen, members of the European Parliament on Thursday agreed on a provisional measure that increases the share of renewables to as high as 45% by 2030.

A climate law in the European Union requires member states to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 as part of a goal to establish a net-zero economy. To do that, "systemic change" is needed to shift from fossil fuels to renewable resources, parliament said.

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A provisional agreement on renewable energy calls for an increase in the share of renewable energy in overall EU consumption to 42.5% by 2030, "with an additional 2.5% indicative top up that would allow to reach 45%."

In the transportation sector, among the most polluting, member states can either set a binding target for a 14.5% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity by 2030 or a 29% target for the share of renewables in final energy consumption.

Either way, parts of the provision call for inclusion of biofuels and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels.

In the industrial sector, members would be required to increase their use of renewable energy by 1.6% each year, with support there also coming from hydrogen.

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Hydrogen is a potent energy carrier and the most abundant element in the universe. It's already deployed in the transportation sector by way of fuel cells. Members of the European Parliament already backed measures in early February that would support the adoption of renewable natural gas and hydrogen into the grid as part of a bloc-wide effort to rely less on fossil fuels.

Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, finds that member states before the COVID-19 pandemic were already making strides in the pursuit of a net-zero economy.

"Between 2000 and 2019, the contribution of all types of fossil fuels to primary production of energy in the EU fell considerably, that of nuclear fell slightly and, consequently, that of biofuels, waste, electricity and heat increased substantially," it said in a February report.

The U.N.-backed International Renewable Energy Agency said Tuesday that advanced economies such as China, the European Union and the United States accounted for about 60% of total growth in alternative energy last year, but a comprehensive shift may be necessary.

"The stakes could not be higher," IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said. "A profound and systemic transformation of the global energy system must occur in under 30 years, underscoring the need for a new approach to accelerate the energy transition."

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The provisions on renewables needs approval from both Parliament and the European Council before it's adopted.

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