Global action remains insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal. Increasing the ambition of 2030 climate targets and accelerating emissions reductions in this decade are essential. This report presents technically feasible 1.5°C compatible energy and emissions pathways for the group of countries that make up the Council of Europe (CoE), and assesses whether CoE member states’ current 2030 climate targets (the Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs) are collectively aligned with limiting warming to 1.5°C.
The report finds that, to be 1.5°C compatible, CoE member states would need to cut their domestic emissions faster than currently planned. Pathways compatible with 1.5°C and filtered to meet sustainability constraints were analysed in this report. These pathways show that countries within the CoE can feasibly:
- Reduce their collective greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 63–68% below 1990 levels excl. land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). Assuming the minimum LULUCF sink within the CoE region, this corresponds to a 68–73% reduction by 2030, relative to 1990 levels.
- Reach net zero GHG emissions between 2041–2054.
- Limit their total cumulative CO2 emissions to 27–35 GtCO2 from 2020 until mid-century (incl. LULUCF).
If each CoE member state achieved its current individual 2030 NDC target, the total mitigation effect would be a 44% reduction of emissions below 1990 levels. Our analysis therefore suggests that the current 2030 mitigation ambition of the CoE region cannot be seen as compatible with 1.5°C. There is an emissions gap of 1457–1746 MtCO2e in 2030 between the CoE member states’ aggregated NDCs and 1.5°C compatible domestic pathways.
The report also demonstrates how CoE member states could achieve these 1.5°C compatible benchmarks through a rapid transition to an efficient energy system powered by renewable energy sources. It focuses on three illustrative pathways, the HighRE, SSP1 and SusDev scenarios. All three are downscaled versions of Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) pathways taken from the IPCC’s latest assessment report (AR6). They represent different possible 1.5°C compatible futures: the HighRE scenario focuses on renewables deployment and electrification, the SSP1 scenario represents a world in which there are broader shifts towards a more sustainable and equitable society, and the SusDev scenario explicitly focuses on meeting the sustainable development goals alongside the 1.5°C goal. This diversity of pathways improves the robustness of the report’s results.
In the analysed pathways, electricity provides 57–66% of final energy in 2050. There are also strong and sustained reductions in final energy demand, which means that by 2050, total energy demand in the CoE region can be up to 45% lower than in 2019. Overall, renewables provide 39–46% of final energy demand in 2030, rising to 82–91% by 2050.
Fossil fuels are rapidly displaced from the energy system in 1.5°C compatible pathways for the CoE area. In the most ambitious pathways, coal is phased out of the energy system by 2030, and fossil gas by 2050 at the latest. Although residual oil demand remains in 2050, this is concentrated in non-energy demand in the transport, industry and aviation sectors.
Synthetic fuels and feedstocks (which are not represented in the illustrative pathways) could further reduce oil consumption in these sectors.
There is a particularly strong action in the power sector, where rapid deployment of wind and solar is the cornerstone of the energy transition. Key milestones for the power sector in these illustrative pathways include:
- Coal phased out of power generation by 2030 and fossil gas by the mid-2030s
- A 99% fossil fuel free electricity mix by 2035
- Electricity generation more than doubling by 2050
In addition to strengthening domestic climate action, rich member states of the CoE (e.g., the EU27, United Kingdom, and Switzerland, among others) also have an obligation, under the fair share and equity considerations embedded in the Paris Agreement, to assist less wealthy countries to accelerate sustainable economic development and take climate action. Without such assistance, the global effort required to limit warming to 1.5°C could be distributed unfairly and will likely not be enough.
It is clear that member states of the CoE can do more to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target and provide global leadership on the climate crisis. By providing updated NDCs that collectively cut emissions by at least 68% (incl. LULUCF) by 2030, by committing to fossil-free electricity by the mid-2030s, and by rapidly reducing demand for fossil fuels, CoE countries can drive ambitious climate action and help keep 1.5°C alive.
When will global greenhouse gas emissions peak?
The IPCC says peaking before 2025 is a critical step to keep the 1.5°C limit within reach. With emissions set to rise in 2023, this leaves limited time to act. To assess if we can meet this milestone, we look at when global emissions might peak, as well as what we can do to get there in time.
Wind and solar benchmarks for a 1.5°C world
This report presents a detailed methodology for determining the amount of wind and solar capacity that is required for a country to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal. While the focus of the report is the method, it includes illustrative benchmarks for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Germany, South Africa.
A 1.5°C future is possible: getting fossil fuels out of the Philippine power sector
The Philippines is also one of the fastest-growing developing countries: poverty is in decline, access to energy is rising and, with that, demand for energy services. However, fossil fuels still dominate the energy system, accounting for 78% of power generation in 2022. This report sets out what the Philippines government needs to do to get the country’s power sector onto a 1.5˚C compatible emissions pathway, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
State of Climate Action 2023
This report finds that global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator – except electric vehicle sales – lagging behind the pace and scale needed to address the climate crisis.
Production Gap Report 2023
Governments, in aggregate, still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. The persistence of the global production gap puts a well-managed and equitable energy transition at risk.
Emissions impossible: Unpacking CSIRO GISERA Beetaloo Middle Arm fossil gas emissions estimates
This report provides an independent evaluation of the CSIRO and GISERA assessments of the potential greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the exploitation of the Beetaloo fossil shale gas reserves.
Adjusting 1.5°C climate change mitigation pathways in light of adverse new information
This study uses an integrated assessment model to explore how 1.5°C pathways could adjust in light of new adverse information, such as a reduced 1.5°C carbon budget, or slower-than-expected low-carbon technology deployment.
Railway development: lessons for the EU
This paper analyses how EU railway policy for a low-carbon future can be enhanced, drawing insights from Japan and Switzerland.
2030 targets aligned to 1.5°C: evidence from the latest global pathways
Our new method applies sustainability limits and minimises the need for carbon dioxide removal to set key 2030 global targets for renewables, fossil fuels and emissions.
The biogeophysical effects of idealised land cover and land management changes in Earth system models
The dependence of different land cover and land management change options on the background climate are still poorly understood across different Earth system models.
De la CDN 1.0 à la CDN 2.0: qu'est-ce qui a changé dans les CDN des PMA de l’Afrique de l'Ouest?
La présente étude examine les premières et les secondes Contributions Déterminées au niveau National des onze pays les moins avancés de l’Afrique de l’Ouest à savoir le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, la Gambie, la Guinée, la Guinée Bissau, le Libéria, le Mali, le Niger, le Sénégal, la Sierra Leone et le Togo.