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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Even more hot air? EU emissions targets post-2020...

Grand room, grand ideas....
Today, over a two hour working lunch in Dublin Castle's grand State Dining Room, EU Environment Ministers will be discussing the EU's contribution to reducing global CO2 emissions post-2020. The Commission's Green Paper on the menu is austere stuff - it calls for reductions in EU emissions of up to 80 - 95% by 2050.

This raises many obvious questions. Leaving aside arguments over climate change, the impact on living standards and whether unilateral decarbonisation is sensible in a global economy, is this plan remotely credible? And if it is, where does the EU believe the cuts will come from? 

Commission's plans to reduce CO2 by 80 - 95% (Mt CO2 eqv)
Firstly, as you can see on the right, as these cuts are calculated over 1990-levels, we're already some way down the road (due to a recession and continued de-industrialisation). But the majority of the heavy lifting is yet to come.

You can also see from this that emissions from some states (Spain for instance) are allowed to go up before 2020. This is due to "burden sharing" allowed under EU rules. If the assembled ministers decide to do that again for 2030 it will mean higher cuts for the UK.

So, again, where will the cuts come from? Well, mostly  from industry and power generation, it seems. The most startling projection is that power generation is planned to reduce to 0%. Right...

EU Green paper: Power generation - 0% CO2?
This is a massive and expensive undertaking as you can see from looking at the UK's current electricity generation mix (below). Currently, at only 7% renewables, a large share will either have to be modified to use Carbon Capture and Storage technology or replaced by new nuclear or renewables, such as wind. Beyond that, the UK's emissions from industry will also have to decrease by a very large percentage. Is that remotely credible while maintaining a manufacturing base? Strangely the only area to be exempted from the emissions cut is agriculture - always a special case in the EU. 

UK electricity gerneration (2010)


Rollo said...

This ongoing attack on Europe by Europe for the gratification of the political and bureaucratic classes will be a very effective scorched earth policy. It will greatly help our competitors in the real world; just as all the other regulation coming from Brussels does.

Freedom Lover said...

Let us all hope & pray that there will be NO EU left by 2030, let alone 2050. Otherwise, the only youth (24 year-olds & younger) employed will be sons employed in their fathers' businesses. Certainly so in Greece & Spain, which already have over 50% of their youth unemployed, but probably Portugal & Italy also who both currently have over 35% of their youth unemployed. How about Cyprus? Yeah - probably they will be in the same boat too!

What a mess! Will the EU & eurozone ever learn? No, unfortunately - never!

Rik said...

60% already looks highly unrealistic. You cannot have high wages (seen skills levels), expensive construction, high prices in general, high taxes and build in a natural perpetual increase in energy prices. You will have no industry left. Something will have to give.

Anonymous said...

There's a serious disconnect here. The Germans currently have TWELVE new coal fired power stations at various stages between planning approval and currently being commissioned. None of them with any attempt at carbon capture and storage, either.