EU’s 2050 climate plan sees ‘benefits of up to 2% of GDP’

(EurActiv, 28 Nov 2018) The impact of the transition to net-zero emissions will be positive for the European economy as a whole, despite the significant additional investments it will require, the European Commission says in its 2050 climate strategy, unveiled on Wednesday (28 November).

“The EU economy is expected to more than double by 2050 compared to 1990 even as it fully decarbonises,” the Commission says in its long-term strategy for a “climate neutral economy”.

A transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is expected to have “a moderate to positive impact on GDP with estimated benefits of up to 2% of GDP by 2050 compared to the baseline,” says the document, which sets a long-term vision for “a climate neutral economy” by mid-century.

“Very importantly, these estimates do not include the benefits of avoided damage of climate change and related adaptation costs,” the EU executive underlines. Swiss insurer Zurich estimates that the costs of extreme weather events amounted to $306 billion in 2017, well above the 10-year average of $190bn. And those costs are expected to rise as global warming continues.

Large-scale deployment of wind and solar power means electricity generation will “at least double” to reach 53% of the EU’s total energy demand by 2050, the Commission says in the document, which lists eight scenarios for the transition to low-carbon energy in Europe.

As more than 80% of electricity will be coming from renewable energy sources, “this will be the backbone of a carbon-free European power system,” the Commission adds, saying this assumes a slightly expanding nuclear power fleet meeting around 15% of the EU’s total energy demand.

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EurActiv, 28 Nov 2018: EU’s 2050 climate plan sees ‘benefits of up to 2% of GDP’