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Towards a Climate-Neutral Future: Europe Commits Itself to New Targets and Increases Cleantech Investment
By admin December 3, 2018

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In 2015, European Union (EU) leadership committed to reducing domestic emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030. Promises to roll out initiatives to minimize global temperature increases and adopt national climate actions plans (INDCs) were also notable elements of the accord.

As of November 2018, the European Union’s Climate Action Tracker (CAT) indicated that the bloc’s implemented efforts were not compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperature increase ceiling. Other issues of significant concern to the CAT include an increase of emissions in the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) sector, highlighting the need for a regional coal phase-out and refocus on renewable energy development.

Though the EU is struggling to meet the Paris targets, the bloc is determined to recommit to the climate cause.  Several days before the COP24 climate summit in Poland, the European Commission released a proposal that calls for emissions to be net zero by 2050. European leaders appear to believe this ambitious plan is achievable within the extended 32 year time frame. Highlights of the nonbinding action plan include: a reduction in fossil fuel use for electricity production; an increase of over USD $100 billion in clean energy investments; the promotion of net zero carbon fuels; shifts to low-carbon public transportation options; and, home improvements to reduce energy expenditure. The new strategy will increase the pressure on member states to enhance their climate efforts and lead the EU into a new era of “green” action.

Germany, the most prominent bearer of the “green” flag in Europe, took a major step forward by supporting the EC legislation. Although the majority of Germany’s political parties recognize climate change as a major problem, the far-right AfD has been largely outspoken, stating that climate issues have been hyperbolized and should not be of grave concern. Germany has also doubled its contribution to the United Nation’s Climate Change Fund.

For countries that are less progressive on the clean energy front, like Poland, the new climate scheme will likely help accelerate efforts to reduce coal dependence. When Poland first became a modern State in 1989, coal accounted for almost 100 percent of the country’s energy mix. Reliance on coal has yet to be drastically reduced as only 20 percent of the country’s power comes from other sources. However, the Polish government plans to coal reliance to 60 percent by 2030. Spain has also announced that it is considering a total phase out of coal. Hopefully this will prompt Serbia, Greece, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, and Bosnia join the movement.

The successful implementation of climate legislation hinges on widespread access to affordable clean energy solutions. As the COP24 commences and pressure for further reform mounts, close monitoring of progress will be also paramount to ensure that the EU does not become a mascot for empty promises.

TBG is committed to working with its EU (and non-EU) cleantech clients and partners to bring viable, innovative, and impactful energy and environmental solutions to market. Adopting an “all of the above” solutions strategy allows for the exploration and testing of emerging technologies encompass multidisciplinary elements, like AI, to make traditional cleantech methods more efficient.

 

For more information:

Paris Agreement

Climate Action Tracker

EU Aims to be ‘Climate Neutral’ by 2050

Far-Right Populists and Climate Policy: An Attempt to Move the Goalposts

Can Poland End its Toxic Relationship With Coal?

 


Thanks for sharing !


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