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A new study shows how Europe can aspire to a reduction in greenhouse gases of up to 25 percentage points above that defined by European legislation. But to achieve this goal, rapid and decisive technological and social action is needed.
Climate target for 2030
The European Commission is preparing to revise upwards its climate target for 2030. This fall, the executive is expected to reach a target of -40% for CO2 emissions by the end of the decade (under current legislation), raising the cut at 50 or 55%. The final percentage is yet to be defined, but a new study – conducted by Climat and the European Climate Foundation – explains why the EU could aspire to more.
The report, titled Increasing the EU’2 2030 emissions reduction target, shows how the EU-27 could reduce its climate-altering emissions by 55% or 65% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The targets, The authors emphasize, they can even be achieved by excluding action on land use, forestry, aviation and navigation.
In detail, the document provides 3 decarbonization pathways up to 2030 that “play” with technological and / or social interventions: the technology-centric scenario, the shared effort scenario, and the 65% scenario.
All three scenarios reduce emissions.
- Technology-centric scenario: the path points to a target of -55% CO2 emissions, through the rapid diffusion of already known technologies. “ With the right policies and incentives, a rapid and progressive reduction can be achieved in all sectors to reach the 55% target. It is necessary that political legislators pay special attention to allow a controlled transition of the workforce through education, training and appropriate planning . “
- Shared effort scenario: Alternatively, 55% could be achieved through a more moderate diffusion of technology, but accompanied by an improvement in our lifestyle. An example? Healthier diets and fewer unnecessary trips .
- 65% Scenario: A 65% reduction in emissions by 2030 would be possible both from the rapid deployment of green technologies and from improved lifestyles. End-of-decade reductions could be achieved with different levels of sectoral efforts, in energy production and the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for the industrial sector. The scenario underscores the importance of introducing social levers that can lead to quick results if citizens are willing to make the necessary changes. They are based in part on individual choices regarding transportation, diet, and product consumption , but they also require that our societies organize differently, with clear choices in terms of infrastructure.
The measures to be applied to reduce CO2 emissions
In all three cases, the authors estimate that the promotion rates for solar and wind energy will have to at least double or triple by 2030. In the same period, gas demand will have to be reduced by at least half (compared to with the 2019 level) and any investment in new gas infrastructure will have to be minimized.
Building renovation rates should at least double or triple by 2030, and these renovations should be carried out much more thoroughly. This will require innovation to digitize and industrialize home renovation on a large scale and at affordable prices. At the same time, heat production must be decarbonised using all alternatives depending on local circumstances, such as heat pumps, solar thermal energy or centralized district heating.
All the scenarios clearly demonstrate that European Union industry must seize the opportunities of the circular economy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
To achieve a reduction in emissions according to the analyzed scenarios, investment, research and development must increase by 2030. The transition is being encouraged by hundreds of companies that are already setting scientific targets to reduce their direct and indirect emissions greenhouse gas emissions, thus aligning its strategy with the Paris Agreement and the EU Green Agreement.