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European Commission unveils zero-carbon objective for 2050

The European Commission has issued a long-term strategy document in which it unfolds why the European Union should reach climate neutrality by 2050 and confirms its commitment to lead in global climate action. The proposed strategy is not meant to change the 2030 current targets, but rather intends to set the direction of the future energy policy. The full implementation of EU’s existing climate and energy policies is on track to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and 60% by 2050 but the Commission believes that this is not sufficient to meet the long-term temperature objectives of the Paris Agreement

The document sets out how reaching the objective of net-zero emissions could boost the EU's economy by 2%/year and help cut energy imports by 70%, resulting in a sharp reduction of fossil fuel import expenditures (reduction of €2,000-3,000bn over the 2031-2050 period). The European Commission forecasts that it would significantly reduce the EU's energy dependence (currently €266bn/year) as regards imports of oil and gas from the current 55% to around 20% by 2050.

The European Commission also pushes for the strong development of renewable energies, which would in turn lead to the electrification of the EU's economy and higher degrees of decentralisation. It predicts that the share of electricity in final energy demand will at least double by 2050 and reach 53%. As for power generation, the European Commission foresees that by 2050, more than 80% of electricity will be coming from renewable energy sources, which will be increasingly located offshore. Nuclear power generation is expected to account for 15% of the EU's power generation: overall, CO2-free energies will cover more than 95% of the power mix, contributing to make Europe carbon neutral.

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