The European Union can achieve more ambitious emission reductions without investing in expensive new technologies, according to researchers in Germany.
The EU has potential to cut emissions 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels by spending less than an additional 0.7 percent of economic output, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said today after publishing a study. That compares with a current target to lower greenhouse gases 20 percent by 2020.
“In the next two decades, it is possible to achieve the transformation using existing technologies,” said Brigitte Knopf, head of Energy Strategies Europe and Germany at the institute, which led the study conducted by a dozen research groups. New technologies may be needed after 2030 to counter the risk of escalating costs when further reducing emissions.
The European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, will next week present proposals for future climate and energy targets for consideration by the bloc’s leaders at a summit in March. Policy makers will try to reconcile Europe’s ambitions to lead the global fight against climate change with efforts to aid the economic recovery.
The EU’s current emission-reduction targets may not be sufficient to reach the bloc’s long-term climate goal, said Enrica De Cian, a researcher at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change in Italy.
“Short-term emissions reductions of at least 40 percent by 2030 are necessary to eventually meet the long-term target of an 80 percent reduction by 2050 aspired by the EU,” she said.