Wind energy significantly helps Europe to meet its climate targets

Back in 2005 the Kyoto Protocol entered into force signalling the start of Europe’s commitment to strong, legally binding carbon reduction targets. Under the terms of that agreement, the EU committed to reduce emissions by 8% from 1990 levels for the EU-15 by 2012. For newer EU member states, the target is between 6% and 8%, giving an average of 7.2% for the EU-27.

By 2010, wind turbines avoided the emission of 126 million tonnes of carbon, covering 28% of the EU Kyoto Protocol target. By 2012 – when the Kyoto Protocol expires – EWEA predicts that wind farm will cover 35% of the 7.2% reduction target.

In 2008 the EU agreed to fresh targets – to cut CO2 by 20% by 2020. By that time, wind energy will be avoiding the emission of 342 Mt of carbon, covering 31% of the EU’s 2020 target.

However, EWEA believes that the EU can go even further than the 20% target by extending it to 30%. A 30% cut would be a crucial first step to the 80-95% emissions cut target by 2050 already agreed by the Heads of State. As wind energy creates no greenhouse gases and it can be deployed immediately, it can begin reducing emissions immediately.

In November EWEA will release new data and analysis on carbon emissions avoided by wind power in the EU – including policy recommendations on a 30% target and the Emissions Trading System.

Zoë Casey,