Screenshot from a campaign video by CAN Europe.

The Paris Agreement climate goal is within reach, but requires steep emission reductions

Over the past year Climate Action Network Europe, Climate Analytics and AirClim have been working on an analysis of pathways that would make it possible to reach the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. A study by Climate Analytics shows that there are several decarbonisation pathways that can put the EU and its member states on track to meet the climate goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of this century. All these pathways entail steep emission reductions by 2030. The study finds that if the EU sharply reduces its energy consumption while multiplying its renewable energy capacities and ramping up support for emission reductions in developing countries during this decade, it can still contribute its fair share to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. As a rich economy, as well as a major historical emitter, the EU should strive for emission reductions of at least 65% below 1990 levels by 2030. Only such a substantial cut will represent a sufficient contribution by the EU within its own borders to achieving the Paris Agreement goal and will place the EU on a 1.5°C aligned decarbonisation pathway, as illustrated by Climate Analytics’ report.

To date, governments have submitted inadequate and unambitious national climate targets that are not sufficient to meet the Paris Agreement long-term temperature goal according to the latest available science. The project generated national scenarios for Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Romania, being amongst the biggest emitters in the EU27 and also characterising the diversity across the EU. An EU-wide scenario covering all energy and non-energy related emissions will also be developed.

The project has identified milestones in terms of greenhouse gas reduction pathways needed in different sectors, related to different gases, as well as providing guidance on the phasing out of fossil fuels and mobilisation of energy savings and sustainable domestic renewable energy sources. “This study demonstrates that technically, steep and fast emission reductions in line with the Paris Agreement are fully feasible for the EU and its member states. It’s a matter of showing political courage and leadership to make that transition happen,” concludes Ryan Wilson, Climate and Energy Policy Analyst at Climate Analytics and one of the report authors. Going beyond the EU’s current net 55% emission reductions target to ensure the EU makes a sufficient contribution to the achievement of the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C long-term temperature goal, the report is intended to inform the strengthening of the current target and the ongoing legislative process on the bloc’s key climate and energy laws.

Reinhold Pape

Compiled from press statements of Climate Analytics and CAN Europe

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