Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require rapid greenhouse gas emission reductions and achieving a net-zero energy system by mid-century. Such transformative change could be realised in a range of ways, and there is need to further assess the implications of these for different world regions and individual countries to guide policy interventions and investments.
This policy brief uses the latest evidence assessed by the IPCC to explore what transformation may be necessary for the EU27 to fulfil the Paris Agreement goal. Using two technically feasible illustrative pathways produced by integrated assessment models, the brief explores how emissions and final energy demand evolve in the future for the EU27 in 1.5°C compatible pathways. The brief then compares this potential evolution to the current set of targets and the underlying modelling.
- 1.5°C compatible pathways for the EU27 show that the European Union can cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 62-66% by 2030 relative to 1990 (excluding LULUCF), faster than the currently legislated 2030 target of 53.9% (excluding LULUCF).
- In assessed pathways, non-biomass renewables such as wind and solar are deployed rapidly to reduce emissions. Coupled with limited biomass, nuclear and hydrogen generation, this sees the EU27 achieve close to zero-emissions electricity generation by 2035.
- This rapid deployment of renewables is coupled with greater electrification of energy demand, as well as use of renewable heat and hydrogen. As a result, renewables provide up to 52% of final energy demand in 2030, rising to 93-95% by 2050, vs. 23% in 2019.
- Fossil fuel demand falls rapidly in 1.5°C compatible pathways. In assessed scenarios for the EU27, coal consumption is phased out by 2030. Gas demand also falls rapidly, with gas phased out in the electricity, industry, and buildings sectors by the mid-2030s, early 2040s and mid-2040s, respectively, in the most ambitious pathways.
For the EU27 to be compatible with the 1.5°C pathways assessed here, it should:
- Increase the ambition of its 2030 climate target to at least 62% (excluding LULUCF).
- Commit to achieving 100% clean power by 2035.
- Increase investments in renewables and accelerate deployment by simplifying the permitting process.
- Commit to phasing out coal by 2030 and fossil gas by 2050.
This publication was produced as a deliverable under the project 4i-TRACTION — Innovation, investment, infrastructure and sector integration: TRAnsformative policies for a ClimaTe-neutral European UnION.
Unabated: the Carbon Capture and Storage 86 billion tonne carbon bomb aimed at derailing a fossil phase out
The climate talks at COP28 have centred around the need for a fossil fuel phase out. Our analysis quantifies the risk posed by restricting a phase out commitment to only ‘unabated’ fossil fuels.
No change to warming as fossil fuel endgame brings focus onto false solutions
The CAT's annual warming estimate has risen by 0.1˚C to 2.5˚C. The estimate is largely influenced by weak existing targets rather than shifts triggered by updated Nationally Determined Contributions.
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.
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.
Ramping up energy storage: lessons for the EU
This paper explores how the EU can enhance its policy for a low-carbon future by learning from successful energy storage approaches in California, South Korea, and Australia.