On the way to a climate-neutral future for the EU, researchers have recommended introducing an ambitious climate target for 2040. The European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change advocated reducing EU emissions by 90 to 95 percent by 2040 compared to 1990 levels.
This reduction compared to 1990 emissions is crucial to mitigating climate risks and achieving a sustainable future, it said at the presentation of a report by the advisory board in Strasbourg. "The Advisory Board's recommendations underscore the need for bold and transformative action to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in a way that is both fair and feasible," said Ottmar Edenhofer, the Advisory Board's Chair.
The EU wants to be climate neutral by 2050
The EU has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve this, emissions are to be reduced by at least 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
If this succeeds, the goal recommended by the researchers could also be achieved by 2040, the Climate Advisory Board announced. For this it is important, for example, to rely significantly more on wind and solar energy and to expand alternatives to fossil fuels such as hydrogen. "Defining a policy framework that incentivizes emissions reductions and rapid expansion of carbon removals is a key challenge for policymakers in the coming months," Edenhofer stressed.
1000 possible reduction scenarios
For the report, researchers looked at over 1,000 possible scenarios in the EU of how emissions could be reduced by 2040. They also examined which measures are feasible in the EU to achieve the goal of the Paris climate agreement of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees if possible.
According to the European Climate Law, the EU must issue an interim target for 2040 on its way to climate neutrality by 2050. The EU Commission should therefore propose this interim goal in the first half of 2024 - on the basis of scientific findings, for example from the Climate Advisory Board. According to the Advisory Board, which was set up in 2021, it is an independent institute that advises the EU with scientific findings on the subject of climate change.