Europe has a history of leadership in energy and climate policy. European Commission legislation puts E.U. countries on track to:
- Reduce their emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels—30 percent if an equitable international agreement is reached—by 2020
- Meet 20 percent of their energy needs through renewables by 2020
- Reduce their emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050
To meet these ambitious targets, the European Commission is developing a plan for total decarbonization of the power sector by 2050. Time is of the essence, because Europe must implement policies in the next five years to meet these goals.
Despite these significant gains, European policies are still not capturing cost-effective energy efficiency in many sectors. The region has seen a huge growth in CO2 emissions from cars, trucks, and planes. Renewable energy has boomed in many countries, but it lags far behind in Eastern Europe. Energy use in many Central and Eastern European countries remains very inefficient and heavily reliant on coal; in several nations, utilities are seeking to build new conventional coal plants.
Europe is a global transportation leader, with the most efficient passenger fleets in the world and fuel-economy standards much stronger than those in the United States, but the transportation sector still accounts for more than one-quarter of Europe’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Further improvements are possible—and because Europe is home to so many carmakers, work in this region will pay dividends worldwide. E.U. leaders can help achieve further energy and carbon savings by testing and labeling heavy-duty vehicles, and by shifting the transport of goods from road to rail.
Created in 2008, the European Climate Foundation (ECF) helps realize the significant potential for improving E.U. climate and energy policies.
In support of these policies, the ECF:
- Dispatches technical assistance where it is most needed
- Supports advocacy campaigns
- Builds coalitions to advance policies that promote energy efficiency, renewables, and other low-carbon solutions
ECF support helped ensure that the European Commission committed to strong, binding targets and minimized loopholes in its updated climate policies. ECF also helped defeat a half-dozen proposed coal power plants and supported adoption of some of the world’s strongest fuel-efficiency standards.
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Roadmap 2050 is an independent, fact-based analysis that illustrates why a zero-carbon power sector is required and how it can become a reality.