Bold climate action: new report reveals potential €1 trillion savings for EU

Climate action| Energy transition| Financing the transition

Adopting a 1.5°C compatible pathway could save the entire European Union at least €1 Trillion by 2030, a new report finds ahead of EU elections. The perilous gap between current policies and the urgent need to address the imminent climate crisis will be at the heart of the political debate in this election year, and new findings assert that climate action is not just necessary, but economically imperative.

Protecting people and the planet from the devastating impacts of climate change is not only a moral duty, but a pragmatic choice. We’ve crunched the numbers. Climate action not only ensures social well-being, but is a powerhouse of economic benefits. There’s no room for hesitation, bold and accelerated climate action is the only path forward to improve people’s lives and reduce the cost of living,” said CAN Europe’s director, Chiara Martinelli. 

CAN Europe’s report quantifies the benefits across health, employment, cost of living, avoided welfare losses, energy security, and avoided resources extraction for a climate action pathway aligned with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C trajectory. This translates into gross emission cuts of at least 65% by 2030 for Europe compared to the currently planned 55-57% target. The unequivocal conclusion is that these benefits significantly outweigh the costs, delivering a resounding economic case for an all-encompassing transition, compelling even the most skeptical decision-makers.

European Environment Ministers convene in Brussels today to discuss the need to increase climate ambition, including a new 2040 emissions reduction target. Key findings Ministers must heed in their deliberations on climate action:

  • A 1.5°C pathway’s direct benefits soar to a minimum €1 trillion by 2030 for the entire European Union.
  • The benefits for the EU significantly outweigh the costs, by a factor ranging between 1.4 and 4 to 1, leaving no room for doubt in favour of decisive climate action.
  • Adopting a 1.5°C compatible pathway presents markedly fewer economic losses compared to grappling with the fallout of climate impacts. The EU stands to avert cumulative losses from now to 2100 of €22.2 trillions, versus inaction, or €4 trillions compared to the current policy scenarios.

CAN Europe’s report underscores that pursuing a climate ambition level in line with the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5°C  carries a significant potential to unleash socio-economic benefits on the journey towards a 2040 climate neutrality objective. 

Amidst numerous opportunities this year to rectify course of action, one area where national policymakers wield considerable influence is the finalisation of National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), shaping national climate and energy policies until 2030. Simultaneously, discussions on a consolidated 2040 EU climate target are underway.

We demand that ministers prioritise climate action at the forefront of their agendas, guided by the irrefutable evidence from science, economics, and societal impacts. An effective and unwavering implementation of climate and energy targets, aligned with a 1.5°C compatible pathway, is not just prudent but the only viable course. There is no cheaper, reliable, or just alternative to bold and accelerated climate action,” commented Olivier Vardakoulias, author of the report and finance and subsidies expert of CAN Europe.

Read CAN Europe’s report “Paris Pact Payoff: Speeding up the green transition for socio-economic co-benefits”.

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