Renewable Energy in 2020

Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) emphasise the relevance of reducing dependency on fossil fuels and sets the target of using at least 20% of renewable energy sources for energy consumption, as a common goal achieved differently by each of its member states.

As Climate Change risks increase, the measures to mitigate its consequence have to accompany in size and anticipate in implementation. The Paris Agreement demands bolder commitments and corresponding actions from all interested parties in solving this Global challenge. Consequently, the EU has revised its GHG emissions reduction targets and in 2018 announced stronger commitment in decarbonising the economy. It has increased the EU energy consumption target to 32% of renewable energy sources by 2030. Is it going at the right pace?

By 2019, 19% of the energy consumption in the EU-28 from renewable energy sources had already been achieved, according to IEA. In 2017, the most recent year of available data Europe’s consumption averaged 17.5% whilst globally that value averaged 13.6%. Europe is clearly a leader in Renewable Energy consumption and is doing so at a good pace. As it is clearly illustrated in the graphic below, constructed with EIA’s data, regulation has been key to attain that change. However, it is not enough. More is needed, not only within the European continent but also overseas. It would be great if many other countries and regions would follow EU’s example.

Renewable Energy Consumption between 2005 and 2017 in the EU-28 and globally.
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A Safe and Sustainable Christmas Season

Each Christmas season many of us enjoy sending season greetings, increasingly more digitally than by post. Is one of those activities that makes senders feel closer to recipients. This year, a very different year, has led me to a different message as well. A Safe and Sustainable Christmas!

Although Safety has been always an issue, particularly as road accidents and fatalities increase around this time of the year and in spite of more stringent traffic measures from governments, this year it goes beyond road traffic. An invisible to the human eye element has disrupted the world. Traffic has dropped significantly. And it’s very likely that traffic around the world drops significantly too during this Christmas, as Covid-19 restrictions are imposed, particularly in Christian countries.

The Earth Globe protected with a medical mask and gloves, as the entire world needs protection equipment against Covid-19 infection.
Photo by Anna Shvets on

Imposed lockdowns meant safer citizens from Covid-19 infections. It also meant a drop on road traffic that globally averaged 50% reduction, as recently informed by the IEA. Consequently, the GHG emissions transport generates have also dropped, forecasts say it’s the sector with the highest reduction this year. Transport is the 4th most pollutant sector, accounting for 14% of the global GHG emissions, for the past decade. With more restrictions imposed until the end of the year, a bigger drop is expected in comparison to same period of previous years.

Less GHG in the atmosphere also means an increase in the air quality, and consequently healthier environments and less respiratory complications. Although sustainable, there is another element, which we cannot forget as it has been our 2020 companion and likely to remain in the first half of 2021, as the pandemic health experts inform. The invisible to the human eye disruptor that has multiplicated exponentially across the globe. Safety this year also means, skipping Covid-19 by practicing social distance and the correct health measures.

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Celebrating the Paris Agreement

The 12th of December marks the day a new global agreement to tackle Climate Change has been approved at the last session of the 21st Conference of the Parties, held in Paris in 2015. Promoted by the United Nations, COP is a yearly meeting where global policy makers, businesses and civil society gather to discuss and agree how Climate Change mitigation should be tackled globally.

With the Kyoto protocol coming to an end, and the global GHG emissions not being reduced but increased, bolder commitments were needed to tackle the global problem that impacts not only the current generations but also future ones. Whilst with the Kyoto protocol nations’ commitments are voluntary, with the Paris Agreement, once ratified, nations are obliged to comply with it. In doing so, committed nations work towards the achievement of global sustainable development, ensuring Climate Change risks are mitigated and future generations do not have a deferred dream.

As mentioned in my first entry in this blog, the GHG emissions have been raising considerably in the Anthropocene. Human’s activity has accelerated since the first industrial revolution. As knowledge and science evolve, we became more aware of the negative impact of our actions. As rational beings, many of us are attempting to mitigate that impact so we all can enjoy the beauty of our living #Planet, and so may the future generations. But a higher #wellbeing can only be achieved with a joint effort from us all, is time for #ActionforClimateEmpowerment. With that in mind, the Paris Agreement has been promptly ratified by leading nations. Not a surprise that last year many nations, businesses and civil society were very upset with the USA withdrawal by its 45th president, in a backward harmful movement on what had been achieved globally and in that country with under the 44th president leadership. Thankfully the joint action of leading nations, businesses and civil society managed to exercise the right pressure for the USA to re-join the Paris Agreement commitment.

What can each of those forces do to help reach the Paris Agreement goals and eventually limit global warming to a maximum of 2ºC, ideally 1.5ºC?

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