Building a clean and competitive economy

A long-term EU strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is needed to build a modern and clean economy. EBA had the pleasure to join a two-day conference organised this month at the free university of Brussels (ULB) to gather stakeholders’ views on this long-term strategy.

Many key messages arose during this exchange. First and foremost, that the energy transition and the decarbonisation of the economy is a major economic opportunity. As Laurent Fabius (President of the COP 21 in Paris) highlighted during the closing sessions, ‘Green is gold’. This strong message was also emphasised by many key industrial actors, such as the Spanish electric utility company Iberdrola.

The need for a clear long-term target with practical short-terms milestones was also highly discussed. The International Energy Agency (IEA), highlighted the crucial role of energy efficiency to reach European targets. Mr Jim Skea chair, of one of the working groups of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also emphasised the need for time-consistency between short- and long-term targets, clear mitigation pathways and the need for growing social engagement. Economic growth in a decarbonised society was strongly debated, and most stakeholders agreed on that statement. The World Energy Council made clear that if growth is to continue, such a society should first be human- rather than growth-centred. Finally, cross-sectoral integration was widely seen as a need for further decarbonisation, such as the rising power-to-methane technological pathways.

To go further, please consult 2017 UNEP’s emissions gap report.