/7th June 2019, EURACTIV, Sam Morgan, RENEWABLE MARKET WATCHTM/ While Germany and Eastern European countries continue to oppose raising the EU’s 40% emission reduction target for 2030, a new analysis insists the bloc will actually manage at least 50% cuts under a business-as-usual scenario taking into account the latest coal phase-out pledges.
EU leaders agreed in 2014 to adopt the 40% target, but their decision predated the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, which seeks to keep global warming to well below two degrees Celsius. There is now a wide consensus among climate experts that 40% is inadequate if the EU intends to honour its commitment to the agreement, which was reinforced by a stark UN report last year that looked into the negative effects of warming above 1.5°C.
The European Commission has acknowledged that the target is out of date. After running its energy and climate numbers again in June, the institution revealed that new laws on renewables and energy efficiency would yield “de facto” cuts of around 45%. On Tuesday (26 March 2019), an in-depth study by climate think-tank Sandbag concluded that 50% should be the EU’s business-as-usual scenario, after taking into account national pledges to phase out coal power. Sandbag’s model includes all the phase-outs already on the books, including France (2021), Italy (2025) and the Netherlands (2029). The study predates Germany’s recent announcement of a 2038 cutoff point for coal, but the model also assumed a 2040 phase-out for every other country.
The Commission’s latest models show there will still be 371 terawatt-hours (TWh) of coal power connected to the grid in 2030, while Sandbag estimates just 198TWh, which accounts for the discrepancy between their two targets. Suzana Carp, Sandbag’s EU expert, said at the study’s launch event that “it’s good to see even a conservative model providing a higher number”. Two other scenarios showed that tweaks to policies and more ambitious phase-out dates could lead to cuts of 53% or even 58%.
The study concluded that “there is a substantial opportunity for confidently adjusting the existing 2030 target, to go beyond the new business as usual of a 50% cut”. However, Yvon Slingenberg, a director at the European Commission’s climate directorate, was more cautious. Speaking at the event, she said: “emphasis needs to be put on the long-term strategy [for 2050]. Our modelling shows 45% is the baseline if everything is implemented. So it is actually at the discretion of the member states.”
The original text article you may read here: EU on track for 50% emission cuts by 2030, study says
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