The European Union (EU) will fail to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80-90pc by 2050 if current policies are anything to go by, a new paper by the European Commission (EC) suggests.
The European Commission's EU Energy, Transport and GHG Emissions Trends to 2050 paper is based on current trends and adopted policies.
The latest reference scenario reveals EU greenhouse gas emissions would drop by 24pc in 2020, but by just 44pc in 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), with energy import dependency increasing during the period to almost 57pc.
Justin Wilkes, the deputy CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), said these findings show new targets are needed for 2030 if the EU is to meet its commitment of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-90pc by 2050.
“With the EU's power sector expected to be still pumping out almost 400m tonnes of CO2 annually by 2050, and the EU in an even worse energy security situation, an ambitious 2030 climate and energy framework, with targets for renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions, is more critical than ever," he said.
“Without such targets energy security and a zero-carbon power sector will be impossible."
Wind energy in Europe
The paper reveals a positive outlook for the European wind-energy industry, however.
Even under current trends and policies, more wind power capacity will be installed over the next 20 years than any other generating technology – accounting for 37pc of new installations – with the result that wind energy will be the leading generating technology in Europe by 2040, according to the paper.
“The European Commission's scenario highlights a positive medium- and long-term outlook for the wind industry," said Wilkes.
“However, a sharp decline in new installations of wind power from 2021 onwards of 27pc highlights the vital importance of a long-term stable regulatory framework for the sector, underpinned by a 2030 renewable-energy target."
Wind and other renewables together account for 59pc of all new electricity generating installations over the 20-year period to 2035 in the European Commission's scenario.
Coal power station image via Shutterstock