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EU advisory panel calls for 90-95% emissions cut by 2040

Highlights

Bloc targeting 55% reduction by 2030

Deployment of renewables, carbon removals will be key

EU recently passed a raft of climate reforms

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  • Eklavya Gupte
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The EU will need to reduce emissions by 90-95% by 2040 if it wants to reach its net zero target by 2050, according to the panel of scientific advisers guiding the bloc on its climate policy.

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In a report published June 14, the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change recommended that the bloc keep its greenhouse gas emissions budget within a limit of 11-14 Gt CO2e from 2030-50.

This comes as the European Commission is in the process of formulating a legally binding emissions target for 2040.

The European Council has set a goal for the EU to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared with 1990, and become climate neutral by 2050.

"The advisory board's recommendations underscore the need for bold and transformative actions to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 in a way that is both fair and feasible," said Ottmar Edenhofer, who is the chair of the board. "To do this, the EU should reduce emissions by 90-95% by 2040, relative to 1990 levels. By making the right policy choices and embracing sustainable innovations, we can pave the way for a resilient future."

The European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, established by the European Climate Law, said it assessed more than 1,000 emissions scenarios, identifying those that align with the goal of keeping of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Renewables, carbon removals

Jette Bredahl Jacobsen, the vice-chair of the board said that the EU's climate mitigation efforts should look both inside and outside the block to ensure "feasible and fair" action.

A significant deployment of wind and solar energy, combined with electrification of energy use and scale-up of fossil fuel alternatives such as hydrogen, will be needed to achieve this goal.

Edenhofer also said that the incorporation of sustainable carbon removal technologies will be needed to ensure its climate targets are reached,

"Establishing a policy framework that incentivizes emissions reductions while also incentivizing rapid scale-up of carbon removal is a key challenge for policymakers in the months to come. Emission reductions are the priority, but sustainable carbon removals from both the land sector and novel technologies also require rapid scaling up, with careful management of associated risks and challenges," said Edenhofer.

Many governments in Europe have passed a series of policies boosting the development of renewable and clean energy, paving the way for growth in the wind, solar, hydrogen and carbon markets.

The European Commission's efforts to unite the EU behind renewables took a significant step forward last year with the REPowerEU deal.

Increasing the uptake of renewables, energy efficiency and energy storage capacity are amongst the key objectives of REPowerEU to increase the resilience, security and sustainability of the EU energy system, by reducing the region's dependence on Russian fossils fuels.

The European Parliament has also approved a raft of climate reforms in recent months, part of its Fit for 55 package and the REPowerEU deal.

It also recently approved reform of its Emissions Trading System and the introduction of a carbon border tax, both of which will revamp the bloc's carbon market, and impact global trade.