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Reproduced from an Ember report; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new analysis finds that European Union electricity use is almost back to its pre-pandemic levels, but the bloc's use of fossil fuels to generate power has not returned nearly as much.

The big picture: The data, via the environmental think tank Ember, reveal a mixed verdict of sorts for the EU's efforts to decarbonize.

  • It shows renewables' ongoing rise and finds that it's now far more expensive to generate power from existing coal and gas plants than new wind and solar projects.
  • But the group also notes that the trajectory of power sector emissions is inconsistent with the EU's economy-wide climate law, which seeks to cut greenhouse gases 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.

The bottom line: "Fossil fuels are in rapid decline as Europe cleans up its power sector. But progress is nowhere near fast enough to meet the EU's own emissions target, let alone reach 100% clean electricity by 2035," Ember analyst Charles Moore said in a statement.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The road to COP26 gets slightly easier

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The bad diplomatic vibes heading into the critical United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, might be improving slightly.

Catch up fast: Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday pledged to end overseas finance for building new coal-fired power plants and boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

24 hours ago - World

WHO revises air quality guidelines to reduce deaths from pollution

Smoke from California wildfires over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in August 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday updated air quality guidelines it set roughly 15 years ago, saying that negative health effects from air pollutants can begin at lower levels than it previously thought.

Why it matters: The changes are meant to reduce deaths from pollutants that cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and prematurely kill an estimated 7 million people around the world annually, according to the WHO.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over deportation of migrants and asylum-seekers

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

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