Leading up to COP24 in Katowice, Poland, the EU Commission has presented a strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral Europe by 2050. The strategy is in line with the Paris Agreement objective to limit global warming well below 2°C but; it also aims to enable GDP growth through smart investments.

The strategy is meant to catalyse public discussion as well EU policy debates with the aim of enabling the EU to submit and adopt an ambitious strategy by early 2020 to the UNFCCC as requested under the Paris Agreement. The Commissions calls upon the member states and government bodies to consider the EC vision in preparation for the European Council meeting on 9 May 2019 in Sibiu, Romania.

The strategy does not set targets or propose practical initiatives but instead outlines a vision of the changes which need to take place to ensure that carbon neutral growth in Europe is sustainable and socially fair. According to the Commission, achieving climate neutrality will require collective efforts and stakeholders will need to collaborate on seven strategic areas to bring down CO2-emissions: energy efficiency including zero emission buildings; deployment of renewables and electricity use; clean, safe and connected mobility; competitive industry and circular economy; infrastructure and interconnections; bio-economy and carbon sinks; carbon capture and storage.

At the presentation of the 2050 strategy, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC said, “The policies put in place so far will go a long way – even after 2030 – but they will only bring us to emission reductions of around 60% by 2050. This is not sufficient for the EU to contribute to the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals.”

Energy plays a big role in the transition towards net-zero emissions economy, says Šefčovič. According to the communication from the EC, energy is responsible for more than 75% of EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. Under the policy strategy, EU would need to tap into the existing low-carbon energy technology as well as reduce fossil fuel imports. According to the commission, the savings on imported energy could be used to partly cover the investments needs of €175 billion to €290 billion per year needed to achieve a net zero greenhouse gas economy. Generally, the Commissions sees big potential in the transition process and expects further benefits such as savings on public health and new employment opportunities.

For more information on the Commissions 2050 long-term strategy visit:
https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2050_en