EU Commissioner calls for climate-neutral union by 2050

It is possible for the EU to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, Miguel Arias Canete says

Photo: EPA EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete

According to EU calculations, all Member States could stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2050,EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said on Tuesday. "It's absolutely possible," he stated. "Sure, it will take a lot of investment, it will take a lot of effort, but it is possible."

The EU Commission plans to present its long-term climate strategy today. It contains eight scenarios on how the EU could reduce the emission of climate-damaging CO2 in order to implement the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. In two of the scenarios, a climate-neutral bloc is targeted, by energy-efficiency measures, including developing zero-emission buildings and smart infrastructures and greater use of renewable-energy sources..

"Carbon neutrality is the way forward for Europe," Canete told Handelsblatt, adding that the complete abandonment of oil, coal and gas is needed to limit global warming and that the EU will benefit if it becomes a pioneer in green technologies, even though the Commission has estimated it would require an additional investment at up to €290bn a year.

“Going carbon-neutral will spur investments in European clean-energy solutions of up to almost €300 billion euros a year,” he stressed. “And overall, it will help grow our economy up to 2 percent of GDP by 2050.”

For Europe to become the world’s first major economy to go for net-zero emissions by 2050, however, the Climate Commissioner called on citizens to also adjust their behavior, as their decisions have a major impact on whether the ambitious goals could be achieved. 

"They should keep that in mind when they renovate their house, buy a new car or buy new electrical appliances," he stressed. The decisions of the citizens have a major impact on whether the ambitious goals could be achieved. 

The Paris Agreement had agreed that global warming should be kept below two degrees of pre-industrialisation and below 1.5 degrees as possible. However, annual emissions of greenhouse gases rose to a new record last year, according to a UN study. The states would therefore have to triple their efforts to reach the two-degree target, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Program .

Similar articles