Climate change and a European low-carbon energy system
This report presents an assessment of possible greenhouse gas emission reduction pathways made feasible by global action and a transition to a low-carbon energy system in Europe by 2030. It analyses trends and projections for emissions of greenhouse gases and the development of underlying trends in the energy sector. It also describes the actions that could bring about the transition to a low-carbon energy system in the most cost-effective way.
The European Environment Agency in Copenhagen has identified pathways to achieve Europe's contribution to a global climate change target.
Global and European action is needed to meet the challenge of ensuring that global temperatures will never rise more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This commitment to take the lead towards a "low emissions future" was agreed by all countries in the European Union. Serious consequences of climate change already include more frequent and more costly floods, droughts and other extreme weather events that are affecting water resources, ecosystems, agriculture and human health.
Europe cannot achieve this goal alone. The report has looked at a contribution that would require a fall in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030. The report projects substantial changes in the EU energy sector by 2030. The sector is currently responsible for 80 % of all EU greenhouse gas emissions.
More than half of the reductions required in the EU would be based on achievable technologies inside Europe, meaning more efficient electricity and heat generation and use of energy in households, industry, services/agriculture and transport, a switch to low-carbon fuels and increases in renewable energy mainly from wind and biomass. The remaining reductions would be achieved by international emissions trading involving the rest of the world.
These are the key findings revealed in a new report launched today by the European Environment Agency. The report sets out a number of scenarios assessing what changes would be needed to ensure a low global emissions future at the lowest cost.