A clear and ambitious EU 2040 climate goal will avoid a ‘too little too late’ scenario

At present, the EU does not have a climate target for 2040, in contrast to many member states and European companies, like Vattenfall. A clear and ambitious EU 2040 climate target will support member states and businesses, by providing confidence to invest. The European Commission will publish their recommendations for a 2040 climate target tomorrow. 

Vattenfall has set a clear target for reaching net zero in 2040. These reduction targets not only include Vattenfall’s own heat and power production, but also our suppliers and customers. Adopting a 2040 EU climate target will provide investors confidence about the pace of the climate actions and requirements – toward carbon neutrality by 2050. This will guide the whole energy sector in the same direction, and it will help us, our suppliers and our customers to achieve our goals.  

Avoid a ‘too little, too late’ scenario
Furthermore, a clear decarbonisation target for 2040 prevents a belated realisation in the 2040s that there is still too much work ahead to achieve the 2050 climate neutral goal. The current measures for decarbonisation are utilising the low-hanging fruit; the closer the EU gets towards 2050, the more difficult the task will be, since the last remaining emissions will be harder and more expensive to abate. Setting clear targets between 2030 and 2050 will prevent such a ‘too little, too late’ scenario.

Most importantly, the EU’s new 2040 climate target must be fully consistent with the EU’s commitment to reach climate-neutrality by 2050 and the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 °C goal. And even if the priority should first be on reducing emissions, we also have to be realistic and acknowledge that the 2050 climate neutral target cannot be achieved by CO2-reduction measures alone. Which is why it is necessary to integrate carbon removals as a complementary measure in the EU climate and energy policy framework.