Towards European decarbonisation

It is evident that decarbonization, and specifically deep decarbonization of Europe, will require a complete restructuring of the European economies, with long-lasting implications for all economic sectors, but also for the mind set of European citizens. Steering such a transformation will be possible only if a clear vision is developed.

One of the core activities of the DEEDS project is the delivery of state-of-the-art knowledge to the High-level Panel on Decarbonization Pathways (HLP) established by the European’s Commission. This independent group of renowned experts from research, business, NGO’s and public bodies – hosted by the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas – has the mandate to steer the implementation of the European Decarbonisation Pathway Initiative (EDPI), which supports EU research and innovation policy by providing science-based evidence and informing decision makers of the main challenges and available routes to decarbonise the European economy towards 2050.

It is evident that decarbonization, and specifically deep decarbonization of Europe, will require a complete restructuring of the European economies, with long-lasting implications for all economic sectors, but also for the mind set of European citizens. Steering such a transformation will be possible only if a clear vision is developed, and if all strata of the European economy and society mobilize. To support such an unprecedented and deep change, the HLP is providing independent strategic advice through the drafting of a comprehensive report on the challenges and opportunities of such a necessary low-carbon transition.

The key topics the report will address were discussed in depth at the 8th HLP meeting in Brussels on May 14th, 2018. These will include the changes needed in the way in which Europe fuels its economy (the energy sector), the profound transformations required in the transport sector, and the challenges faced by all industrial sectors. The report will also discus how the transformation of the European land use sector from GHG source into a GHG sink can be achieved, and how to support cities towards becoming zero-emission. In this process, the crucial role of social innovation and low-carbon business models will become highlighted, alongside the need for a continuous and stable support to the process of technological innovation and diffusion. Such far-reaching changes will necessarily need to be fueled by a combination of public and private capital. To realize a just transition to a low carbon economy and society, the report will also consider the macro-economic implications of decarbonization, including trade-related aspects.

The HLP report will contribute to shaping a strong EU vision towards decarbonization, and will help to identify and highlight the most important research gaps and needs with respect to this massive endeavor of decarbonizing the European Union.

Indeed, the European Union has long been committed to international efforts to tackle climate change and is setting an example through robust policy-making at home, both nationally and at the EU level. The 2030 climate and energy framework, which was adopted by EU leaders in October 2014, contains binding targets for GHG emission reductions and renewable deployment, as well as indicative targets for energy efficiency improvements for the year 2030. Currently, the EU is developing a 2050 low-carbon economy roadmap by identifying cost-efficient ways to make the European economy more climate-smart and less energy-consuming.

~ By Elena Verdolini, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) ~