EU Commission published its long-awaited Strategy for Climate Action till 2050  on November 28, 2018: COM2018/733, “A Clean Planet for all A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy provides the basis for life changing actions to contribute to emissions by 2050 in Europe.

Hydrogen is mentioned in a supporting role “through the production of e-fuels” like e-hydrogen and “is likely to become more prominent in a fully decarbonised energy system,” the Commission says. The EU’s long-term budget proposal (2021-2027) unfortunately does not significantly aknowledge that the transition from a gas system, based on imports, will need large efforts to produce and distribute a combination of hydrogen and natural gas,  which is largely produced domestically.

A week before energy and environment ministers from Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden co-signed a joint letter to EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete calling for “a clear direction” towards net-zero emissions.

The document presented on November 28, 2018 includes  modelling that is showing that net-zero emissions would mean “estimated benefits of up to 2% of GDP by 2050 compared to the baseline”. EU GDP is expected to double from the 1990 level by mid-century, which means extra cash of around €400 billion. It also states that “(Climate change).. .would have severe consequences on the productivity of Europe’s economy, infrastructure, ability to produce food, public health, biodiversity and political stability. Weather-related disasters caused a record € 283 billion in economic damages last year and could affect about two-thirds of the European population by 2100, compared with 5% today. For instance annual damages due to river floods in Europe could reach € 112 billion, from thecurrent €5 billion. 16% of the present Mediterranean climate zone may become arid by the end of the century and in several Southern European countries outdoor labour productivity may decline by around 10-15% from present-day levels.

Environment and Energy minsiters are scheduled to discuss the stratey in their respective meetings on December 19 and 20.