The European Commission is to introduce its ambitious climate strategy aiming for a “climate-neutral Europe” in an attempt to demonstrate that EU countries stick to the environmental goals of the Paris Accord and support a joint long-term vision. EU countries will be able to make a choice out of eight different scenarios that range from business-as-usual emission cuts to net-zero options. The Paris Agreement makes its signatories finalize long-term strategies by early 2020.
However, EU climate boss Miguel Arias Cañete told the media that “climate neutrality by 2050 is of course the preferred option. It’s feasible and it’s necessary. We have all the tools to be ambitious,” adding that “in the months ahead, these scenarios must be studied in detail, so that we achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 in the most cost-effective way”. The long-term strategy aims to confirm the bloc’s commitment to lead the global efforts against environmental change and present a vision that can “lead to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050”.
The EU executive insists that the current efforts are neither a “target-setting exercise” nor an attempt to rewrite 2030 energy goals, while also admitting that the current estimate of 60% cuts by 2050 will not likely be enough to act upon the Paris Agreement goals. Commissioner Cañete admitted that this was just the beginning of long-term planning and member states will have a lot of room to manoeuvre. The EU’s current overarching emissions reduction target for 2030 is 40% compared with 1990 levels but the Commission has benchmarked 45% in its planning.