Why number crunching can make or break Europe’s climate ambition

(EurActiv, 16 Mar 2020) After the EU committed to climate neutrality by mid-century, the European Commission is now busy performing a detailed cost-benefit analysis of raising the bloc’s climate target for 2030. Brook Riley peaks into the EU’s modelling engine room to decipher the assumptions behind the figures.

Brook Riley is head of EU affairs at the Rockwool Group, a world leader in building insulation.

Now that EU leaders have signed up to delivering climate neutrality by 2050, the Commission is busy analysing the impacts of a higher 2030 emissions target. Results are expected in the summer, and the assessment will be the basis for a new package of revised climate, energy and transport legislation.

In climate terms the stakes are huge. A good Commission impact assessment of the costs and benefits of higher ambition cannot guarantee Member State and EU Parliament support, but a bad one is a recipe for disaster.

This is what happened six years ago, when the Commission first proposed a 30% by 2030 energy efficiency target (a big win at the time). Sadly, a graph in the accompanying impact assessment implied that the EU’s cost-effective potential was only 27%.

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EurActiv, 16 Mar 2020: Why number crunching can make or break Europe’s climate ambition