How can the EU meet its climate change targets?

As the EU prepares for the next UN climate summit, fresh warnings are now being issued into the potentially dangerous effects of climate change. The official target set out in the Paris agreement is to limit temperature increases to below 2 degrees celsius.

The European Science Advisory Council (EASAC) has warned that the hopes of meeting the targets set out in the climate agreement are diminishing. Therefore, it’s crucial to develop new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

EASAC has been working for many years alongside scientists to come up with innovative ways to deal with the issue. The group claim that, if the EU is to meet the obligations in the Paris Agreement, massive investment is needed, along with an ongoing commitment from all member states.

New carbon removal technology, in particular, is seen as a key way to combat climate change. According to the EASAC report, these types of technologies need to take on increased importance in the EU’s climate change strategy this year and in the near future.”

In the past few years, there has been a strong focus on carbon removal technologies. These tend to focus on carbon capture and storage, as well as bioenergy. However, these technologies require large scale investments, and scientific research into their effectiveness, if they are to be rolled out in the long-term.

Carbon capture and storage techniques (BECCS) is sometimes used in carbon removal in the agricultural industry. But, according to the EASAC report, efforts to make this a large-scale project would be considered “a new industry close to the same size as the current fossil fuel industry”. It notes that it would require a “huge diversion of economic resource”.

The report continues to say, “reversing deforestation, reforestation, increasing soil carbon levels and enhancing wetlands remain the most cost-effective and viable approaches to CDR, and should be implemented now as low-cost solutions relevant both to developed and to developing countries.”

Therefore, the only way this technology can really be proven, is to test it in practice. If carbon removal is to become the norm in European industry, it needs to be more investment, more research, and it needs to be tried and tested in natural environments.

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