Europe can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent and reduce its energy bill by 350 billion euros ($476 billion) a year by 2050 if it acts within five years, according to the European Climate Foundation
The 27-nation European Union is poised to lower carbon- dioxide discharges by 20 percent in this decade from 1990 levels and aims to reduce pollution by 80 percent to 95 percent in the next four decades. The goal is reachable, and zero-carbon electricity can be provided as reliably and economically as now, the group said in a report published in Brussels today.
“The report reveals many myths untrue and shows how achievable the renewable energy pathways are,” said Tom Brookes, head of the Energy Strategy Center at the foundation. “Existing nuclear capacity and fossil fuels will be almost off by 2050. We will have to build new capacity, and at the end of the day it’s a political decision where you direct funding.”
The cost of energy per unit of gross domestic product may fall as much as 30 percent by 2050, mostly because of increased energy efficiency, shifts away from oil and gas to power generation of electricity and lower exposure of greener industries to carbon prices, according to the report.
Still, a low-carbon economy faces “profound implementation challenges,” the study said, with spending on new technologies and energy-efficiency measures likely to top 3 trillion euros over 40 years. The increase in spending needed to boost the share of renewable energy will be offset by smaller operating costs from lower fossil fuel requirements and savings from higher energy efficiency, the report said.