The EU must reduce net emissions by 95% to 2040

More than a thousand scenarios analyzed for reduce net emissions by 2040

(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – A crossing in the desert. The scenario before the European Commission is not far from this metaphor, if it intends to achieve zero net emissions by 2050.

Brussels is preparing the plan that should bring the old continent in the wake of the Paris agreement. But it’s no picnic. According to the EU’s Climate Change Advisory Committee, the 2040 target should provide for a reduction from 90% to 95% of net emissions compared to 1990 levels.

The 15 experts appointed to advise the European executive have assessed more than a thousand scenarios, in order to make a recommendation consistent with the objective of the Paris Agreement. Limiting global warming to 1.5 ºC is still an objective within reach if drastic measures such as those proposed are implemented. But it is at the same time a target that is rapidly slipping away, to the point that at the global level there is less and less hope.

Europe, however, seems to want to build its policies according to that threshold, so as not to lose face. But it will not be easy. Cutting net emissions by 95% to 2040 requires a massive increase in renewable energy, the electrification of polluting industries and the replacement of fossil fuels with alternatives such as hydrogen. Coal should be practically eliminated by 2030, followed by gas in 2040.

Net emissions mean that a contribution can also come from removing CO2 from the atmosphere with reforestation or geoengineering. But these solutions, although they will have to be strengthened according to the committee, represent only a small part of the effort. Most of it will have to come from cutting emissions.

Even doing all this, however, the Union’s commitment would not be enough, if we take historical responsibilities into account. The experts stress this, concluding that a fair plan should include aid to other countries for mitigation and adaptation.

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