‘EU has to be carbon-neutral by 2050’
Posted On November 28, 2018
“By 2050, Europe has to be 100% carbon-neutral”, meaning emitting no greenhouse gases at all or catching and storing what’s left, the EU Commission states in its ‘Clean Planet for All’ document, published on Wednesday.
The plan of Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete, focuses on seven actions with more energy-efficient houses as one of its spearheads. Dependence on oil and gas has to be reduced from 55% today to 20% by 2050.
3.000 billion euro savings
Those fossil fuels should be replaced by renewable energy, so consumption could be reduced from 55% to 20%, making the EU less dependent on countries like Russia and saving 2.000 to 3.000 billion euro in the period 2031-2050.
The document is the EU’s answer – a few days before the UN’s climate conference in Katowice, Poland is starting – to the alarm call of the IPCC climate panel’s scientists warning.
Only 57 countries on right track
The UN environmental agency, UNEP, said on Tuesday the world has to triple its efforts to limit global warming to 2°C by 2100 and even do five times better to reach the 1,5°C agreed in the Paris Agreement of 2015 by more than 180 countries.
Greenhouse gas emissions will reach a historic high this year and nobody knows when the turning point will be reached. Only 57 of the 180 countries, responsible for 60% of the emissions, are on the right track to reach their peak and the turning point by 2030.
1,5°C still possible
The EU Commission still believes it will be possible to keep the 1,5°C goal, but sharpens its ambitions to get there in a scenario that is 100% carbon-neutral instead of the 80% to 95% that was set before.
First of seven strategic ways to reach this is to push up energy-efficiency dramatically, reducing energy consumption by half by 2050. There is a lot to win in insulating houses and using alternative ways to gas and oil for heating, for instance.
Transport more energy-efficient
Transport has to be made more energy-sufficient too and this doesn’t mean battery electric cars only, as this technology still has to mature, according to the EU. Further digitizing should make road traffic more efficient.
Goods transport has to shift more toward the railways to catch up with road transport and aviation has to ship in mostly by using cleaner fuels.
Finally catching and storing CO2 underground in industries that can’t produce without emitting CO2 like the cement industry, will be needed to reach the climate goals. Norway is prepared to take care of part of the EU’s CO2 and store it under the seabed.