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 EU27 and assesses whether the EU’s current 2030 climate targets are aligned with limiting warming to 1.5°C.
The report finds that, to be 1.5°C compatible, the EU27 would need to cut its domestic emissions faster than currently planned. 1.5°C compatible pathways assessed in this report, and filtered to meet sustainability constraints, show that the EU27 can feasibly:
- Reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 63-73% below 1990 levels excl. landuse, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). Accounting for LULUCF, this corresponds to a 66-77% reduction by 2030, relative to 1990 levels
- Reach net zero GHG emissions between 2040-2045
- Limit the EU27’s total cumulative CO2 emissions to 11-22GtCO2 from 2020 until mid-century(incl. LULUCF)
The analysis therefore suggests that the EU27’s current Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which aims to cut emissions by 55% below 1990 levels by 2030 (incl. LULUCF), cannot be seen as compatible with 1.5°C.
The report also demonstrates how the EU27 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 two illustrative pathways, the HighRE scenario and the PAC scenario. The HighRE scenario is a downscaled version of an integrated assessment model pathway which relies on low-cost renewables to limit warming to 1.5°C while reducing reliance on bioenergy and carbon dioxide removal. The PAC scenario provides a bottom-up perspective on how the EU27+UK can reach absolute zero CO2 emissions by 2040. These pathways are produced by different methodologies, which gives a more robust assessment of 1.5°C compatible action for the EU27.
In these pathways, electricity provides 66-70% 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 EU27 can be up to 58% lower than in 2019. Overall, renewables provide 48-54% of final energy demand in 2030, rising to 92-100% of final energy by 2050.
Fossil fuels are rapidly displaced from the energy system in 1.5°C compatible pathways for the EU27. In the most ambitious pathways, coal is phased out of the energy system by the early 2030s, and oil/gas by 2040 at the latest. 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 transition to 100% fossil-free electricity by the mid-2030s
- A transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2050 at the latest
- Electricity generation more than doubling by 2050
It is clear that the EU27 can and must do more to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target and provide global leadership on the climate crisis. By providing an updated NDC which aims to cut emissions by at least 66% (incl. LULUCF) by 2030, by committing to 100% fossil-free electricity by the mid-2030s, and by bringing forward the date of net zero GHG emissions by up to a decade, the EU27 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.