The EU target is 90%. CO2 reduction in 2040. What does this mean?

Luc Williams

American President Dwight Eisenhower said: “When preparing for battle, plans are always useless, but planning is essential.” The longer the planning time horizon, the greater the risk of deviations, but strategies are necessary to determine the desired direction of change.

In line with Eisenhower’s maxim, the European Commission set a flagship target of 90% at the beginning of February. net emission reduction in the EU economy by 2040 compared to 1990. What the target set by Brussels means for the European electricity sector – after analyzing the detailed impact assessment accompanying the main Commission communication – is described below.

At the outset, it is worth emphasizing that the 2040 target does not radically change the legal status in relation to the obligations of installations in the EU electricity sector, which are covered by the emission allowance trading system and would have to take into account a continuation of the decline in the pool of allowances in the EU ETS system after 2030. And the pace of shrinking supply of permits was already determined by the EU ETS directive amended last year.

Nevertheless, the Commission’s analyzes on how to achieve the 2040 target in the energy sector are of great importance because they show a strategic list of technologies on which Brussels will focus and allocate funds for their development. On the other side, there will remain losing technologies that are to be gradually phased out.

Captured energy emissions and the great return of CCS

The main assumption of the impact analysis is that the electricity sector will be completely decarbonized on a net basis already by 2040. In the 90% scenario. reducing CO2 emissions by 2040. Brussels even shows negative emissions from this sector in net terms (-10 million tons of CO2). This does not mean that there will be no emissions in the sector at all – those that will still occur, however, will be neutralized by new installations with negative net emissions, such as CO2 capture and storage technologies in biomass installations (the so-called BECCS – Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) and from the air Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage – DACCS).

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Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.