IIASA researchers played a central role in the European Commission’s recommendation for the 2040 climate target, from delivering the scientific  foundation and establishing dialogue with the community, to being among the renowned scientists selected as members of the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change.

The Advisory Board provides transparent and scientific guidance to the EU and was specifically entrusted with advising on emissions reduction targets for 2040, as well as a 2030 to 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions budget. IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program Director Keywan Riahi and senior researcher Joeri Rogelj are both independent experts in this group.

Led by Riahi, eight IIASA researchers collected, vetted, and assessed over 1,000 emissions scenarios from the modeling community to determine emissions and climate outcomes, and assess the feasibility and fairness of 2040 emissions reduction targets. Working closely with the board members and the Secretariat, the analyses were published in two IIASA reports, supported by an open Scenarios Database that underpins the assessment.

Using these scenario assessments, the Advisory Board published a report advising the European Commission to reduce GHG emissions in the EU by 90-95% by 2040 relative to 1990 levels, having also identified feasible  pathways that are consistent with the EU’s international climate commitments.

Subsequently, the European Commission released detailed proposals for the new mid-term climate targets, encouraging EU legislation that commits to net GHG emission reductions of 90% by 2040. The new targets are  already shaping policy developments, both within the EU and internationally.