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What delivering the Paris Agreement means for Europe

Net-Zero 2050
| 24.05.2018

Under Article 4 of the Paris Agreement, all parties should put forward a long-term strategy setting out the action they will take across the economy to contribute to the global goals of limiting global average temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, aiming at 1.5°C. This is likely to mean global emissions falling to net-zero by mid-century, with developed countries arriving at this level earlier than the global average – an objective to which France, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden have already committed.


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At the European Council meeting in March 2018, EU Heads of State and Government invited the European Commission to prepare a draft of the EU’s collective mid-century strategy by the start of 2019. The Commission has announced its intention to put forward a set of options, underpinned by a full technical analysis, already by November 2018, and to carry out a public consultation over the summer.

The conference on 24 May was the occasion to place the mid-century strategy discussion in the bigger political and economic frame that will be needed if we are to be successful in reaching the Paris goals. Discussions highlighted the political will and solutions that exist to start orienting economies around net-zero emissions, and the socio-economic and industrial opportunities these offer for Europe’s future.

Through the presentation of recent climate science and the CTI 2050 Roadmap Tool, our aim was also to offer some tools and robust analytical basis to support the debate.

The 2050 Roadmap Tool

The conference featured the ‘beta-launch’ and a brief demonstration of the 2050 Roadmap Tool that the ECF has been developing with the consultancy Climact. This is an economy-wide calculator tool based on based on the ClimateWorks Foundation’s Carbon Transparency Initiative (CTI) model, also drawing on work being done for the Horizon 2020-funded EU Calculator project. A wide range of experts have been consulted in the development of the tool (although Climact remains responsible for its final form), including:

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We will be using the Tool to develop and test possible pathways to net-zero emissions to establish its feasibility. This will help to better understand the systemic impact that different choices may have, and to identify some key trade-offs, implications and near-term decisions that may be needed to get to Paris-compatible emission levels.

What’s next?

The CTI 2050 Roadmap Tool is now ready for more thorough and formalised testing. During June and July, a number of partners will test the Tool and use it to build their own net-zero scenarios. Feedback will be integrated into the model and we will publish a range of net zero scenarios shortly after the summer, together with some key insights from the work. This will be fed into the European Commission’s consultation process.

Partners who have agreed to be testers include:

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  • About the Net-Zero 2050 initiative

    The Net-Zero 2050 is a new initiative of the European Climate Foundation with contributions from a consortium of experts and organisations funded by the ECF.

    The objective of Net-Zero 2050 is to start building a vision and evidence base for the transition to net-zero emission societies in Europe and beyond, by midcentury at the latest. The Paris Agreement commits us to make this transition, and long-term strategic planning shows that many of the decisions and actions needed to get us on track must be taken without delay. Reports in the series seek to enhance understanding of the implications and opportunities of moving to climate neutrality across the power, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture, land use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sectors; to shed light on some of the near-term choices and actions needed to reach this goal, and to provide a basis for discussion and engagement with stakeholders and policy-makers.

    With acknowledgement of the source, reproduction of all or part of the publication is authorised, except for commercial purposes.