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EC climate roadmap

EC climate roadmap

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Published by Jamie Hall

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Published by: Jamie Hall on Mar 08, 2011
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12/05/2012

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EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Brussels,COM(2011) 112/3
COMMUNICATION FROM THECOMMISSIONTO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEANECONOMIC AND SOCIALCOMMITTEE AND THECOMMITTEE OF THE REGIONSA Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050
1. Europe's key challenges
The EU provides its Member States with a long-term framework for dealing withthe issue of sustainability and the cross-border effects of phenomena thatcannot be dealt with at the national level alone. Climate change has long beenrecognised as one such long-term shaping factor where coherent EU action isneeded, both inside the EU and internationally.The Commission recently proposed the Europe 2020 flagship initiative for aresource-efficient Europe
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and within this framework it is now putting forward aseries of long-term policy plans in areas such as transport, energy and climatechange. This Communication sets out key elements that should shape the EU'sclimate action helping the EU become a competitive low carbon economy by2050. The approach is based on the view that innovative solutions are requiredto mobilise investments in energy, transport, industry and information andcommunication technologies, and that more focus is needed on energyefficiency policies.The Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth includesfive headline targets that set out where the EU should be in 2020. One of themrelates to climate and energy: Member States have committed themselves to
 
reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20%, increasing the share of renewables in the EU's energy mix to 20%, and achieving the 20% energyefficiency target by 2020. The EU is currently on track to meet two of thosetargets, but will not meet its energy efficiency target unless further efforts aremade
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. Hence, the priority remains to achieve all the targets already set for2020.In order to keep climate change below 2ºC, the European Council reconfirmedin February 2011 the EU objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990, in the context of necessary reductionsaccording to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by developedcountries as a group
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. This is in line with the position endorsed by worldleaders in the Copenhagen and the Cancun Agreements. These agreementsinclude the commitment to deliver long-term low carbon developmentstrategies. Some Member States have already made steps in this direction, orare in the process of doing so, including setting emission reduction objectivesfor 2050.Together with the White Paper on Transport and the Energy Efficiency Plan, thisCommunication is a key deliverable under the Resource Efficiency Flagship. Itpresents a Roadmap for possible action up to 2050 which could enable the EUto deliver greenhouse gas reductions in line with the 80 to 95% target agreed.It outlines milestones which would show whether the EU is on course forreaching its target, policy challenges, investment needs and opportunities indifferent sectors, bearing in mind that the 80 to 95% reduction objective in theEU will largely need to be met internally.
2. Milestones to 2050
The transition towards a competitive low carbon economy means that the EUshould prepare for reductions in its
domestic
emissions by 80% by 2050compared to 1990
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. The Commission has carried out an extensive modellinganalysis with several possible scenarios showing how this could be done, asexplained in the box below.This analysis of different scenarios shows that domestic emission reductions of the order of 40% and 60% below 1990 levels would be the cost-effectivepathway by 2030 and 2040, respectively. In this context, it also showsreductions of 25% in 2020. This is illustrated in Figure 1. Such a pathway wouldresult in annual reductions compared to 1990 of roughly 1% in the first decadeuntil 2020, 1.5% in the second decade from 2020 until 2030, and 2 % in thelast two decades until 2050. The effort would become greater over time as awider set of cost-effective technologies becomes available.
Modelling approach for the 2050 roadmapThe results and findings presented in this Communication are based on a comprehensive globaland EU modelling and scenario analysis on how the EU could shift towards a low-carboneconomy by 2050 against the backdrop of continued global population growth, rising globalGDP and varying global trends in terms of climate action, energy and technologicaldevelopments.A set of global projections were used to look at global impacts of climate action, how it relatesto the energy sector, agriculture and deforestation. Furthermore, impacts on the EU'scompetitive sectors were projected to assess the possible risks of ambitious actions in thecontext of fragmented global action on climate.Detailed EU projections were made within a wide set of potential future scenarios, focussing onthe sensitivity regarding assumptions on global fossil fuel price developments and rate of technological innovation to analyse the sectoral contribution, including from agriculture andother land uses. While there are always uncertainties relating to long term projections, results
 
have been made more robust by developing a wide set of scenarios with different assumptions.Future modelling improvements could consider better representation of the impacts of climatechange itself, as well as energy storage and smart grid solutions for distributed generation.
Figure 1 illustrates the pathway towards an 80% reduction by 2050, shown in 5year steps. The upper "reference" projection shows how domestic greenhousegas emissions would develop under current policies. A scenario consistent withan 80% domestic reduction then shows how overall and sectoral emissionscould evolve, if additional policies are put in place, taking into accounttechnological options available over time.
Figure 1: EU GHG emissions towards an 80% domestic reduction(100% =1990)
Emissions, including international aviation, were estimated to be 16% below1990 levels in 2009. With full implementation of current policies, the EU is ontrack to achieve a 20% domestic reduction in 2020 below 1990 levels, and 30%in 2030. However, with current policies, only half of the 20% energy efficiencytarget would be met by 2020.If the EU delivers on its current policies, including its commitment to reach 20%renewables, and achieve 20% energy efficiency by 2020, this would enable theEU to outperform the current 20% emission reduction target and achieve a 25%reduction by 2020. This would require the full implementation of the EnergyEfficiency Plan
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presented together with this Communication, which identifiesmeasures which would be necessary to deliver the energy efficiency target.The amount of currently allowed offsets would not be affected.
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The analysis also shows that a less ambitious pathway could lock in carbonintensive investments, resulting in higher carbon prices later on andsignificantly higher overall costs over the entire period. In addition, R&D,demonstration and early deployment of technologies, such as various forms of low carbon energy sources, carbon capture and storage, smart grids and hybridand electric vehicle technology, are of paramount importance to ensure theircost-effective and large-scale penetration later on. Full implementation of theStrategic Energy Technology plan, requiring an additional investment in R&Dand demonstration of € 50 billion over the next 10 years, is indispensable.Auctioning revenue and cohesion policy are financing options that MemberStates should exploit. In addition, increasing resource efficiency through, forinstance, waste recycling, better waste management and behavioural change,as well as enhancing the resilience of ecosystems, can play an important role.Also, continued effort to strengthen research on climate mitigation andadaptation technologies will be required.
3. Low carbon innovation: a sectoral perspective
The Commission's analysis has also explored pathways for key sectors. Thisanalysis looked at a range of scenarios assuming different rates of technological innovation and different fossil fuel prices. They produced largelyconvergent results with respect to the magnitude of reductions needed in eachsector in 2030 and 2050 as indicated by the ranges presented in Table 1. Thedevelopment of sectoral policy options will have to go into greater depth oncosts, trade-offs, and uncertainties.
Table 1: Sectoral reductions
GHG reductions compared to 1990 2005 2030 2050

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