Press releases

How to achieve a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU

Published: 13/04/2011

Up to 30% GHG reductions are possible if existing targets for renewables and energy efficiency are implemented

Cologne/Cambridge, 13 April 2011 – Ecofys and Climate Strategies announced the results of a study on consistency of policy instruments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. The report, which contributes to the wider Climate Strategies study ‘Considering the case for the EU to move beyond 20% by 2020’ provides options on how to achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, in the EU, from 1990 to 2020.

The EU has agreed a set of goals (objectives) and related instruments for 2020. The most significant objectives are the 20% or 30% reduction of greenhouse gases (all emissions, both within and outside the Emissions Trading System), the 20% improvement of energy efficiency and the 20% of renewable energy use by 2020. The stringency of the instruments used to reach these goals, must be set carefully to ensure overall consistency.

This work illustrates that there is a need to carefully reconsider the balance of the different 2020 targets and objectives. These changes are made necessary due to the recession and recent policy developments. The full implementation of the energy efficiency and the renewables target would lead to an emission level in 2020, which is significantly lower than 20% below the 1990. The results of this study suggest a reduction of up to 30%. Assuming additional reductions in non-energy sectors, domestically, a reduction up to 32% is possible. Implemented policies are not yet sufficient to meet the energy efficiency target, despite the cost effective potential.

“The cap of the Emissions Trading System will need to be adjusted if energy efficiency and renewables targets are to be met”, states Dr. Niklas Höhne, Director Energy and Climate Policy at Ecofys. “Significantly fewer emissions would then occur in the sectors covered under the Emissions Trading System, than under the current cap.” According to calculations in the study, there would be a reduction of 29 to 43% below the 2005 level, in the emissions covered by the ETS, as a result of the energy efficiency and renewables target. This is compared to the current cap of 21% below the 2005 level. The 30% GHG reduction target could also be met by increasing the permitted quota of offsets and allowances from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). Offsets can contribute to up to 4% of 1990 emissions for the 20% target and up to 9% for the 30% target. Allowances from land use, land-use change and forestry could contribute around 2% of 1990 to reach the 30% target. The value depends on the accounting rule chosen and ranges from 0 - 9%. Allowing the maximum of offsets and a likely option for LULUCF, domestic emissions could be 20 - 22% below 1990 and still nominally meet the 30% target.

A 25 - 30% reduction of domestic emissions in the EU, in 2020 compared to 1990, would be conducive to the long-term goal of reducing emissions by 80 - 95%, by 2050. This can be achieved by enhancing energy efficiency measures and initialising the transformation process in those sectors not covered by the ETS.

Note to the editors

About Ecofys -
Ecofys is a leading knowledge and innovation company that operates in the field of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change. It delivers research and service solutions from product development to implementation management. Its clients are energy companies, financial institutions and corporate businesses, governments and local authorities, international institutions, project developers, housing associations, building companies and energy consumers around the world.

About Climate Strategies -
Climate Strategies is an international research organisation which aims to assist governments in solving the collective action problem of climate change. It connects leading applied research on international climate change issues to the policy process and to public debate, raising the quality and coherence of advice provided on policy formation.

For further information, please contact:
Yvonne Kettmann
Marketing & Communication
Ecofys Germany GmbH
T: +49 (0) 221 27070-110