Studies have shown that European economies have gravitated closer to reliance on coal as a source of energy (Source: Bloomberg; McKinsey). The European Union has committed itself to reducing carbon emissions in Europe and pursuing renewable energies. Renewable energies are an important focus of the EU’s Horizon 2020, but allocations to this framework programme have also included a large sum of funding for gas projects, on the grounds that natural gas is categorised as a ‘low-carbon energy source’. However, environmentalists argue that natural gas is not an optimal substitute, given the risks associated with extraction — ground water contamination, mismanagement of waste, air pollution and the release of toxic chemicals.
What is the Commission’s response to concerns that the use of natural gas is undermining renewable energy developments?
How does it plan to mitigate the alleged negative effects of fossil fuel extraction?