Roadmap 2050 – European Climate Study

The European Climate Foundation (ECF) has just published a ground-breaking study put forth by McKinsey. Conducted in consultation with corporations and other organizations from the renewable and electricity sectors, it explores options for a carbon-free European power sector by 2050. The study outlines plausible ways to achieve an 80% emissions reduction target compared with 1990 levels from a broad European perspective. Such a power supply could be realized by further developing and deploying technologies that are already commercially available or in late stage development, and by expanding the trans-European transmission grid. The study calls for collective action before 2015 as a prerequisite, starting with electricity decarbonization.
 
Backed by European Union (EU) Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, the Roadmap 2050 shows how benefits of the low-carbon transition outweigh the challenges and outline how a commitment now to a systemic low-carbon energy transformation is ultimately the winning economic strategy for competitiveness, jobs and low-carbon prosperity.

Achieving the 80% green house gas (GHG) reductions target in 2050, based on zero carbon power generation in Europe, is technically feasible and makes compelling economic sense. It is essential to activate policy makers at the highest European levels, including national as well as regional levels to ensure this agenda is taken seriously.
 
The study also shows that a 100% renewable electricity system in Europe, sourced domestically and through joint cooperation mechanisms with North Africa, could be as reliable as our power system today and would reduce Europe's fossil fuel import costs. A 100% renewable electricity supply would only be 5-10% more expensive than the other low-carbon pathways considered in the study. The study goes on to dispel the myths surrounding the supposed added costs and reliability of renewable energy.
 
I attended the launch of the study in Brussels. EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said the findings will be used to inform a forthcoming EU framework package on electricity grid infrastructure and investment, which will tackle the issue of renewable financing across European countries. Applied Materials is participating in this policy-making process in Brussels, and we will use this study to demonstrate that a sustainable low-carbon economy with photovoltaic electricity and energy efficiency will play a significant role ― this is not a pipe dream, but a realistic aim that can yield major economic and environmental benefits for the EU.

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