The EU’s decarbonisation of its energy sector will only cut emissions by half the amount needed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius in 2050, according to a business-as-usual scenario quietly released by the European Commission over the Christmas period. Scientists and EU leaders agree that by mid-century, Europe must ramp up energy savings and green its power generation to slash CO2 emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels, and so avoid catastrophic climate change. But according to a European Commission ‘Trends to 2050’ study, which was released below the radar over the Christmas period, the continent is only on track to reduce its emissions by around a third in 2030, and 44% in 2050. The paper only considered existing CO2 reduction schemes, and assumed no new energy and climate policies after 2020. It was pounced on by clean energy advocates as evidence of the need for a new milestone in 2030.“With the EU’s power sector expected to still be pumping out almost 400 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2050, and the EU in an even worse energy security situation, an ambitious 2030 climate and energy framework, with targets for renewable energy and GHG reductions, is more critical than ever,” said Justin Wilkes, the deputy CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “Without such targets energy security and a zero-carbon power sector will be impossible,” he added. Rather than a zero-carbon power sector, the single greenhouse gas cut of 40% by 2030 that currently looks likely to be agreed would put Europe on track for an 80% cut by 2050, environmentalists say. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says this reduction would be in line with a target of containing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to 450 parts per million. But that would only give the planet a 50/50 chance of keeping global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, according to the International Energy Agency. The EHA has met with EU officials to inquire about potential fuel cell and hydrogen technology cooperation opportunities in the new Horizon 2020 program to engage emerging economies in accelerating the deployment of FC and H2 applications.


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