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Study: EU Can Cut Carbon by Nearly Half

EU dependenceThe European Union can achieve carbon reductions of 49 percent by 2030 – far more than the current proposed target of 40 percent – by cutting its dependency on natural gas imports and increasing cost-effective investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, according to an analysis released yesterday by Ecofys.

The analysis comes just days before the European Council meets to set new climate change targets.

The study finds that the EU’s natural gas consumption can be halved overall by implementing cost-effective measures that accelerate the use of renewable energy and efficiency improvements in industry, buildings and energy supply.

These measures can achieve the following:

  • 58 percent reduction in gas consumption from buildings, equal to 23 percent of all natural gas presently consumed by the EU
  • 20 percent reduction in gas consumption from industry, equal to 5 percent of all natural gas presently consumed by the EU
  • 63 percent reduction in gas consumption from power generation, equal to 19 percent of all natural gas presently consumed by EU

Replacing natural gas imports with clean alternatives will enhance Europe’s stability in energy supply, increasing resilience to possible interruption from unstable suppliers.

According to Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute, Europe can be energy independent, and the Ecofys analysis shows that the EU can cut natural gas imports in half without raising costs for consumers.

Earlier this month Unilever, Ikea, Royal Dutch Shell, Coca-Cola Enterprises and General Electric were among 57 global companies, funds and associations that signed a letter to EU heads of state urging them to adopt “robust” 2030 energy policy at the Oct.23-24 summit.

Another report, released by Cambridge Econometrics last month, found if the UK holds to its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below their 1990 levels by 2050, there would be a 1.1 percent increase in gross domestic product.

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