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Analysis: EU Can Cut Natural Gas Imports By Half, Achieve 49% Carbon Reductions

Published: 20/10/2014

Cologne, 20 October 2014 – By ramping up cost-effective investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency the European Union can cut its dependency on natural gas imports in half, according to new analysis released today. Carbon reductions of 49% or more could be achieved below the 1990 level by 2030 – far more than currently proposed. The analysis arrives just days before the European Council meets to set new climate change targets.

The study Increasing the EU’s Energy Independence: A No-Regrets Strategy for Energy Security and Climate Change was written by international consultants Ecofys as part of the Open Climate Network (OCN), a global network of independent research institutes and civil society groups for which World Resources Institute (WRI) serves as secretariat. It finds that natural gas consumption can be halved overall by implementing cost-effective measures that accelerate the use of renewable energy and efficiency improvements in industry, buildings and energy supply.

Relative to current projections, these measures can achieve

  • 58% reduction in gas consumption from buildings (equal to 23% of all natural gas presently consumed by EU);
  • 20% reduction in gas consumption from industry (equal to 5% of all natural gas presently consumed by EU); and
  • 63% reduction in gas consumption from power generation (equal to 19% of all natural gas presently consumed by EU).

Replacing natural gas imports with clean alternatives will enhance Europe’s stability in energy supply, increasing resilience to possible interruption from unstable suppliers.

"Contrary to popular belief, Europe can be energy independent,” said Jennifer Morgan, Director of the Climate and Energy Program at WRI. “This analysis shows that the EU can cut natural gas imports in half without raising costs for consumers. This is a win-win approach for the EU, increasing its energy security and raising the bar for climate action."

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About Open Climate Network  
The Open Climate Network (OCN) brings together independent research institutes and stakeholder groups to monitor countries’ progress on climate change. We seek to accelerate the transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient future by providing consistent, credible information that enhances accountability both between and within countries.

This paper is part of an OCN initiative to inform the post-2020 GHG mitigation goals in Intended Nationally Determined Contributions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The OCN Secretariat, based at the World Resources Institute, is managing this multi-country effort. Taryn Fransen is the OCN Director, Thomas Damassa is the OCN Senior Associate for Research and Product Development, and Jenna Blumenthal is the OCN Research Assistant and Project Coordinator. For more information regarding OCN and/or this initiative, contact

Ecofys – Experts in Energy
Established in 1984 with the mission of achieving “sustainable energy for everyone”, Ecofys has become the leading expert in renewable energy, energy & carbon efficiency, energy systems & markets as well as energy & climate policy. The unique synergy between those areas of expertise is the key to its success. Ecofys creates smart, effective, practical and sustainable solutions for and with public and corporate clients all over the world. With offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and the US, Ecofys employs over 250 experts dedicated to solving energy and climate challenges.      

For further information, please contact:
Yvonne Offermann
Press Office Ecofys
Am Wassermann 36
50829 Cologne/Germany
T: +49 (0)221 270 70 110

Rhys Gerholdt
Climate Communications Manager
T: +1 (202) 341 1323