Between 1990 and 2009 total energy consumption in the EU remained almost constant, increasing by only 2% over almost two decades. Secondly, coal consumption dropped dramatically by 41% during the same period. The gap was filled natural gas, consumption of which increased by 41%, and renewables which increased by 116%.

To reduce carbon emissions, the EU committed to what it has labeled 20-20-20 by 2020.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020
  • Increase the share of renewable energy sources in energy consumption to 20 percent
  • 20 percent increase in energy efficiency
The most recent GHG emissions data from the European Environment Agency suggest that the EU will meet the first of these objectives.