Leading IIASA climate experts Keywan Riahi and Joeri Rogelj are among the coauthors of a new report titled “Towards EU climate neutrality: progress, policy gaps and opportunities”. They formulated a set of climate actions within the framework of the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change.

The European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change is composed of 15 scientific experts, including Riahi and Rogelj, covering a broad range of relevant disciplines. This board provides independent scientific advice on EU measures and climate targets, assessing their alignment with the European Climate Law and the EU’s international commitments under the Paris Agreement.

The newest report highlights that more efforts are needed across all sectors to achieve the EU climate objectives from 2030 to 2050, particularly with regard to buildings, transport, agriculture, and forestry.

The Advisory Board acknowledges the potential of the Fit for 55 policy package, referring to the
EU’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, but warns that additional measures are imperative if the EU is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest.

“We have outlined 13 key recommendations for a more effective implementation of the EU policy framework,” says Keywan Riahi, IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program Director. “With only seven years left until 2030, this requires taking decisive actions in the upcoming years – efficiently executing recently agreed legislation and initiating preparations for the post-2030 climate policy framework.”

Cover of Assessment Report © European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change

Key recommendations include:

National action for implementing the Fit for 55 package

Delivering on the Fit for 55 package now largely depends on national action. The Advisory Board urgently calls on national governments to enhance and implement their energy and climate plans to secure EU emissions of 55% or more by 2030 compared to 1990.

Aligning EU policies with energy and climate goals and phasing out fossil fuels

A crucial recommendation is to ensure that EU policies match the goal of ending the use of fossil fuels. Despite the EU advocating for strong action in this regard at the recent COP28, the Advisory Board cautions that current EU policies are not entirely in sync with this objective. This poses a risk of locking the EU’s infrastructure into emission-intensive fossil fuels.

Addressing emissions from agriculture and forestry

The Advisory Board found that emissions in agriculture are not decreasing, mainly due to the lack of adequate financial incentives for farmers. At the same time, as the EU forests are getting older and face worsening impacts of climate change, they begin absorbing less and less carbon. To address this, the Advisory Board recommends a closer alignment of the EU’s common agricultural policy with the EU climate ambitions, including by shifting support away from emission-intensive agricultural practices such as livestock production, and toward lower-emitting products and activities.

Ensuring a just transition and public support

A fair transition is needed to keep people backing climate action. To achieve this, the Advisory Board suggests a thorough assessment of the possible socio-economic impacts of climate measures. The board also recommends putting in place measures that distribute resources to those most affected. The planning of climate policies and related social measures should be based on an open and inclusive process.

Download the report: Towards EU climate neutrality: progress, policy gaps and opportunities


Adapted from a press release on the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change website. Read the original text here.



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