New Study Shows 40% Emissions Cuts Possible in Europe

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Francesca Gater, communications officer for Friends of the Earth Europe,
+32 28 93 10 10 or +32 4 85 93 05 15, francesca.gater@foeeurope.org

Robert Watt, Head of Communications, Stockholm Environment Institute,
+46 73 707 85 89, robert.watt@sei.se

New Study Shows 40% Emissions Cuts Possible in Europe

Fair solutions are financially and technically achievable, but political will is still required

BRUSSELS - One week ahead of crucial climate change talks in
Copenhagen, a new study released today by Stockholm Environment
Institute in partnership with Friends of the Earth Europe proves for
the first time that Europe could double its greenhouse gas emission
reduction target for 2020.

40 studyThe research, ‘Europe’s Share of the Climate Challenge: Domestic Actions
and International Obligations to Protect the Planet’ [1] shows how
Europe can cut domestic emissions by 40% in 2020, and by 90% in 2050,
compared to 1990 levels. This is the minimum scale and speed of
reductions science says is likely to be needed from rich countries to
avert a climate catastrophe and would enable the European Union to live
up to its historical responsibility for causing climate change.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: “This
study proves that it is possible for Europe to deliver its fair share of
necessary global emission cuts. A 40% cut by 2020 in Europe is feasible
and affordable, and it can be done without resorting to dangerous or
unproven solutions. Current political proposals are not ambitious enough
- we need a bold shift in policy and determination from European
politicians now. The EU can make these cuts in a way which not only
improves the quality of life for people in Europe, but also ensures the
rights of poorer parts of the world to develop sustainably.”

Using detailed modeling the study describes a comprehensive pathway for
Europe to achieve 40% emissions cuts through a combination of radical
improvements in energy efficiency, the accelerated phase-out of fossil
fuels, a dramatic shift towards renewable energies, and lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle changes envisaged by the study include a shift to public
transport with only 43% of trips being made by car in 2050 compared to
75% in 2005. Such changes could make the carbon footprint of the average
European 8 times smaller in 2050 than today.

The report estimates the costs of the scenario, and outlines the EU’s
fair share of the finances needed for developing countries to fight
climate change. It calculates that between 2010 and 2020 mitigation
costs in Europe would likely be about 2% of the EU’s discounted
cumulative GDP of €111trillion, or 2€ per person per day, which is a
value consistent with other mitigation studies.

The study also shows that aggressive actions to cut emissions at home
will not be enough to keep the planet safe from dangerous climate change
and that the EU and others with the capacity and responsibility, must
support the developing world’s climate challenge. The EU’s fair share of
finances for the developing world for both mitigating and adapting to
climate change amounts to between €150 billion and €450 billion per year
by 2020 - another 1% to 3% of the EU’s GDP, or less then 3€ per day per
person according to the study.

Aggressive actions to cut emissions at home coupled with adequate
finances for developing countries are the two-fold obligation which
Europe must fulfill to fight climate change in a fair and just way.

The study shows that with these actions greater equity can also be
achieved within Europe since changes in patterns of economic growth in
different nations will close the gap between the richest and poorest
countries.

Dr Charles Heaps of Stockholm Environment Institute, lead author of the
report and a senior scientist in SEI’s climate and energy program, said: “Our analysis shows that deep cuts in emissions can be achieved in
Europe at reasonable cost between now and 2050, even with rather
conservative assumptions about technological improvement. The scale and
speed of changes required may seem daunting, and indeed it will require
a mobilisation of Europe’s economies, but the potential costs of
inaction are so large that doing nothing presents a far more implausible
and dangerous future pathway for Europe.”

***

For more information please contact:

Francesca Gater, communications officer for Friends of the Earth Europe,
+32 28 93 10 10 or +32 4 85 93 05 15, francesca.gater@foeeurope.org

Robert Watt, Head of Communications, Stockholm Environment Institute,
+46 73 707 85 89, robert.watt@sei.se

***

[1] A summary of the study by Friends of the Earth Europe entitled 'The
40% Study - Mobilising Europe to achieve climate justice is available here.

A media briefing for journalists is available here.

The
full report ‘Europe’s Share of the Climate Challenge: Domestic Actions
and International Obligations to Protect the Planet’ is available at: www.sei-international.org/climateshareeurope

The Stockholm Environment Institute is an
independent, international research institute working on environment
and development issues. The institute’s goal is to bridge science and
policy on sustainability.
www.sei-international.org

Friends of the Earth’s climate campaign, the Big
Ask, is calling on governments across Europe to commit to legally
binding year on year cuts in emissions equal to a 40% reduction of
EU-wide domestic emissions by 2020. www.thebigask.eu

 

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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