EU fossil fuel use for energy to drop 80% under 2040 climate goal -document

By Kate Abnett

January 24, 2024 at 1:00 PM

By Kate Abnett

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's use of fossil fuels for energy would drop 80% by 2040, compared with 1990 levels, if the bloc moves ahead with a target to cut net greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by that date, a draft document showed on Tuesday.

The European Union is drafting its first 2040 climate target, to bridge the gap between its existing goals to cut net emissions 55% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The European Commission will present its first recommendation for the 2040 target next month - and is set to endorse a 90% emissions reduction by 2040, from 1990 levels, Reuters previously reported.

A draft of the Commission's recommendation for the target, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, said the target would reduce Europe's net bill for fossil fuel imports by a total of 2.8 trillion euros ($3.03 trillion) over 2031-2050, compared with the yearly average over 2011-2020.

It also said the electricity sector would need to be nearly CO2-free by around 2040, by scaling up renewable energy sources and nuclear energy to together produce more than 90% of EU electricity.

A 90% emissions cut by 2040 would require coal to be phased out in the energy sector, while the majority - 60% - of Europe's remaining use of fossil fuels for energy would be oil used in road vehicles, shipping and aviation, it said.

Gas would still be used in industry, buildings and the power sector, the draft said, without specifying the volumes.

A Commission spokesperson declined to comment on the draft, which could change before it is published.

Hitting Europe's climate goals will require massive investments - most, from private sector sources - in low-carbon energy sources, power grids, green manufacturing technologies and more sustainable farming practices.

Investments of 1.2 trillion euros per year are needed this decade to decarbonise the energy and transport sectors fast enough to meet climate goals, EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson told an event in Brussels on Tuesday.

The draft said faster CO2 cuts would also be needed in sectors including agriculture, where non-CO2 emissions should be cut 30% by 2040 from 2015 levels.

The draft document also laid out the cost of failing to tackle climate change, in the form of more destructive extreme weather - which, it said, could unleash additional costs of 2.4 trillion by 2050 if global warming is not limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

($1 = 0.9236 euros)

(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Susan Fenton)


Reuters is a news agency owned by Thomson Reuters Corporation. It employs around 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide. Reuters is one of the largest news agencies in the world.

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