An analysis by the Oeko-Insitut demonstrates: Ambitious greenhouse gas reductions in Europe are possible


The objective to limit global warming to a maximum increase of 2°Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, has gained importance again at the climate summit negotiations that took place in Cancun (Mexico) at the end of 2010. For industrialised countries this goal implies a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 95 percent by the middle of the century.

After the Oeko-Institut (together with Prognos and Dr. Ziesing) presented the analysis “Model Deutschland”, a strategy for the transformation of the German economy to meet climate targets, the Oeko-Institut presented “Vision Scenario for the European Union”, an analysis which addressed the same question: Can the European Union reach a radical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and what are the essential framework conditions as well as the intermediate steps for this goal?

Today, the Oeko-Institut presents core findings of the study in Brussels: The quantitative scenario analysis of the energy system and all greenhouse gas emission sources (except land use, land-use change and forestry) and of different ambitions in energy and climate policy outlines significantly different pathways for future energy and climate policies:

  • In the Reference Scenario, which is based on recent ambitions in energy climate policies, an emission reduction of 19% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2020, 25% by 2030 and 38% by 2050 is achieved. Renewable energies contribute 13% of the primary energy supply in 2020, 16% in 2030 and 24% in 2050. The share of power generation from renewable energies in total electricity generation represents 24% in 2020, 29% in 2030 and 46% in 2050. The level of nuclear power production remains at recent levels for the next two decades and decreases from 2030 onwards.
  • The “Vision Scenario” is based on a greenhouse gas emission reduction target in accordance with the EU’s long-term goal. The total greenhouse gas emission reduction amounts to 35% in 2020, 57% in 2030 and 91% in 2050. Additional measures in land use, land-use change and forestry could enable a 95% emissions reduction.
  • In the “Vision Scenario” renewable energies represent a share of 20% in the total primary energy supply in 2020, nearly 40% in 2030 and about 90% in 2050. The power sector undergoes a process of early decarbonisation; the share of renewable energies in total net power generation is 39% in 2020, 60% in 2030 and 94% in 2050. Nuclear power in the EU is phased out in this scenario by 2040.

Further information can be found in the study "The Vision Scenario for the European Union. 2011 Update for the EU-27"


Dr. Felix Chr. Matthes
Researcher Coordinator Energy- and Climate policy
Oeko-Institut e. V., Berlin Office
Tel: +49 (0)30 405085-380
E-Mail contact