Draft EU plan would see fossil fuel consumption decline by 85 percent by 2040
Steam and smoke rise from the Belchatow Coal Powered Station in Poland, the world's largest lignite coal-fired power station. | Wikipedia (CC)

The European Union is in the process of drafting a climate target for 2040 to serve as a bridge between its net greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 55 percent by 2030 and its goal of net zero by 2050, reported Reuters.

New draft documents from the European Commission said the EU must invest about $1.64 trillion a year starting in 2031 to achieve its net-zero goal, the Financial Times reported.

“The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal, and is a legally binding target thanks to the European Climate Law,” the European Commission has said. “All parts of society and economic sectors will play a role – from the power sector to industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and forestry.”

The document expressed that the big investment is meant to lower the price of inaction as global heating ramps up, reported the Financial Times. And if global temperatures can be kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels or cooler, the EU could save $2.61 trillion from 2031 to 2050 and reduce net fossil fuel import costs by $3.05 trillion.

Some in the agriculture and industry sectors have said the requirements of the EU’s climate law are too strict considering the increased inflation and lingering effects of the energy crisis.

The document draft said the green transition presents an “opportunity” for the EU to become a “leading force in the clean technology sectors, stabilize energy bills, create the good jobs of the future, improve our quality of life, and protect ourselves against the worst effects of climate-related hazards,” according to the Financial Times.

The document said the EU’s electricity sector would need to be almost entirely decarbonized by about 2040 in order to achieve the target. There would also need to be an overall fossil fuel consumption reduction of 85 percent along with a transition to green industries. And to get to a goal of a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, there would need to be “close to” a $718 billion annual investment from 2031 to 2050.

Much of the investment would be in the underdeveloped technology of carbon capture to trap residual emissions. Another draft addressing carbon management said 496 million tons must be captured each year by 2050 in order to achieve net zero.

The new document mentions that the use of fertilizerslivestock breeding and other agricultural activities are predicted to become the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.

The executive arm of the EU is set to publish the document on February 6. It will help inform the establishment of the 2035 Nationally Determined Contribution — a goal for emissions reductions in the bloc that is required to be agreed upon by all 27 governments leading up to next year’s United Nations COP30 climate conference.

This article was reposted from Ecowatch.

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Cristen Hemingway Jaynes
Cristen Hemingway Jaynes

Cristen Hemingway Jaynes covers the environment, climate change, oceans, the Arctic, animals, anthropology, astronomy, plastics pollution, and politics. She holds a JD and an Ocean & Coastal Law Certificate from the University of Oregon School of Law.