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The Vision Scenario for the European Union
- Categorized in: CLIMATE CHANGE
The Vision Scenario for the European Union (click title to access full report)
Project sponsored by Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament
Berlin, November 2006
Energy and climate policy in the 21st century is facing manifold and far-reaching challenges:
• The problem of global climate changes requires fast and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to stabilise the concentrations of these gases at a level which is sufficient to limit the increase of the global mean temperature to a level not exceeding 2°C above the pre-industrial levels;
• Finite fossil and nuclear fuel resources and the foreseeable concentration of fuel production in some politically sensitive regions is increasingly highlighting the problem of energy security;
• The integrated world energy markets and liberalised energy markets are in- creasingly facing the problem of highly volatile energy prices, which leads to an increased vulnerability of economies.
Against the background of these challenges, a business-as-usual approach in energy policy is increasingly being seen as no longer acceptable. However, there is no silver bullet for solving the majority of the problems that energy and climate policy is facing today. Many options must be explored and it will be necessary to implement many op- tions.
Risk minimisation is the key strategic approach to meeting the various challenges. The proven advantages for the options to be used must be greater than the risks and the un- certainties connected to these options.
There is a wide consensus about some options which can be seen as favorable for en- ergy-related activities:
• There is huge potential for energy efficiency in the end-use sectors as well as in the energy sector which can be exhausted in all sectors to a much wider extent than it can be assumed in the business-as-usual case;
• Renewable energies must play a key role in the future energy system, in power production, heating and cooling as well as in the transport sector.
In addition to these options, there is another emerging technology which could play a role in the medium term:
• Carbon capture and storage could contribute significantly to future CO2 emis- sion reduction; however, many scientific, technological and economic problems must be solved, the regulatory framework for this technology is predominantly lacking, and public acceptance is crucial for this technology pathway.
Besides the matured and consensual, and the emerging and potentially consensual, op- tions for the development of a future energy system, the debate is affected by a strong controversy:
• There is no foreseeable consensus on the acceptability of nuclear power against the background of the possibility of large nuclear accidents and the manifold problems related to the handling of nuclear materials (from mining to processing of nuclear materials and the management of nuclear waste).
3Öko-Institut Vision Scenario EU-25
Scenario design and results
To illustrate the potentials of the non-controversial emission reduction options, a sce- nario analysis was carried out to analyse the implications and interactions of different options:
• The business-as-usual scenario (baseline scenario) indicates a development which could result if recent energy and climate policies are not strengthened;
•The vision scenario is a normative scenario based on two main assumptions:
oAll non-controversial greenhouse gas mitigation options should be used for the time horizon of 2030 so that an emission reduction of 30% can be reached by the year 2020 compared to 1990 levels and a significantly higher reduction after this date;
oThe use of nuclear power should be phased out based on the existing phase-out policies of different Member States of the EU or a technical lifetime of 40 years; in other words, no significant lifetime of existing nuclear power plants should be assumed and no new investments in nuclear power should be taken into account.
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