This post is a follow up from an earlier post that further analyses the results shown in the Impact Assessment accompanying the new Climate and Energy Framework for 2030 as published by the European Commission, on behalf of EREC- the European Renewable Energy Council (the umbrella organisation for the companies within the Renewable Energy House). I have selected some figures within the document as well to discuss.
The following abbreviations will be used within this post- GHG’s (Greenhouse Gases), EE (Energy Efficiency), RES (Renewable Energy Sources). There are four “enabling policy scenarios” that were assessed by the European Commission representing a range of different ambitions. These are, from least to most ambitious,
- GHG40 (or “GHG-only” scenario) with a 40% GHG reduction target.
- GHG40/EE with a 40% GHG reduction target and ambitious Energy Efficiency policies.
- GHG40/EE/RES30 with a 40% GHG reduction target, ambitious Energy Efficiency policies and a 30% Renewable Energy Source target.
- GHG45/EE/RES35 with a 45% GHG reduction target, ambitious Energy Efficiency policies and a 35% Renewable Energy Source Target.
To summarise what was previously mentioned in an earlier post, the European Commission’s White Paper proposes a domestic GHG reduction target of 40%, a share of 27% renewable energy and leaves energy efficiency without a target altogether.
EREC have stated that these choice of scenarios as discussed in this Impact Assessment are “Highly questionable”. EREC are confused as to why the GHG emissions reductions are limited to 45% as a maximum figure when this would only achieve an 80% reduction of GHG emissions by 2050.
This target would be undermining the official EU position to reduce emissions by 80-90% and reports such as the IPCC 5th Assessment Report and the UNEP Emission Gap Report put into question whether targets reaching the lower end of his target will allow the world to keep a temperature rise below 2°C.
As Figure 11, and others as well, show that the Impact Assessment does not always provide information and comparisons between all of the enabling policy scenarios. The reasons for which I am unsure, but I am positive that the employment rate shown in Figure 11 would be increasingly higher given the GHG45/EE/RES35 scenario included.
There is also no pre-set target for Energy Efficiency in any of the scenarios, despite the fact that energy efficiency is considered as one of the “no-regrets options” in the 2050 Energy Roadmap. Details of which can be found here-
Figure 7- showing the Fossil Fuel Import Savings is fairly self explanatory, with the most ambitious targets evidently creating the most savings. On the overall period 2011-2050, a 30% RES target would save about €1.1 trillion on fossil fuel imports compared to a GHG-only scenario. Those savings would even amount to €1.4 trillion if the EU were to set a target of 35% RES.
Figure 8 shows the millions of life year savings (The quality adjusted life year is a measure of disease burden, including both the quality and the quantity of life lived) due to lower PM2.5 concentrations (fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometres). Setting a RES target brings significant health impacts, reducing life-years lost by 6.7 million in the case of a 30% RES target and even 8.8 million in the case of a 35% RES target, when comparing to the GHG-only scenario.
I am unsure whether the proposals within the European Commission’s White Paper (a domestic GHG reduction target of 40% and a share of 27% renewable energy) will have a chance to be altered, but something that I am sure of is that the implications as a result of these targets will seriously affect the world’s climate.
It seems that these targets are not ambitious enough and will have detrimental consequences for the world’s climate looking forward to 2050. As the world’s weather becomes more extreme it could be argued that in fact it may be all just part of a long cyclical climatic process that we do not fully understand yet. However, I feel now is the time that we have the chance to plan and change our energy usage towards renewables as the IPCC 5th Assessment Report and the UNEP Emission Gap Report show that-
"the lack of adequate action up to 2020 will need to be corrected by increased action after 2020".
Whether these Climate and Energy targets can be attributed as “increased action” only time will tell.
More details can be found on EREC’s website under the breaking news section.