4. What are the links between energy and the environment?

4.1 How are emissions of greenhouse gases by the EU evolving?

Climate change is a threat to sustainable development. After years of extensive research, the scientific community agrees that man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the dominant cause of the Earth’s average temperature increases over the past 250 years (IPCC, 2014).

4.2 How efficient are we in our consumption of energy?

One of the priorities of the Energy Union strategy is to increase energy efficiency in an attempt to reduce energy consumption by 20 % by 2020. Energy intensity is a measure of an economy’s energy efficiency and shows how much energy is needed in order to produce a unit of gross domestic product (GDP).

4.3 What is the share of renewable energy in the EU?

The share of renewable energy in energy consumption increased continuously between 2004 and 2016, from 8.5 % to 17.0 %, approaching the Europe 2020 target of 20 % by 2020.