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EU climate policy is dangerously reliant on untested carbon-capture technology

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Nature or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The European Commission has proposed new climate targets for 2040, recommending that EU member states aim to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 90% compared to 1990 levels
• This step is seen as an interim milestone towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, as mandated by the European Climate Law

🔭 The context: Despite appearing ambitious, the proposed cut aligns closely with the EU's existing policies, which are projected to reduce emissions by 88% by 2040. The focus is on transitioning away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources and electrifying transport
• However, the commission acknowledges challenges, particularly in fully implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, which are crucial for offsetting emissions from sectors like shipping, aviation, and certain power generation

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Accelerating CCS technology is essential for tackling the remaining emissions, but Europe currently lacks operational CCS plants and a regulatory framework for such technologies
• With climate advisers warning of the risks versus benefits of relying on CCS, the proposal emphasizes the need for a balanced approach to achieving emission reductions without sidelining efforts to phase out fossil fuels

⏭️ What's next: The 2040 climate targets will be discussed by EU member states, facing potential opposition due to various pressures, including economic concerns and the impact on carbon-heavy industries
• The commission's proposal also underscores the importance of a just and equitable transition, highlighting the need for detailed strategies to support vulnerable communities and maintain EU industry competitiveness

💬 One quote: "This presents a dilemma for policymakers who need to find ways to incentivise sustainable carbon removal scale-up, while avoiding the risk of disincentivising greenhouse-gas emission reductions in different sectors by more conventional means and a suitable governance system," reflecting the science advisers' concerns over balancing CCS implementation with broader emission reduction efforts

📈 One stat: The EU's projection of achieving an 88% reduction in emissions by 2040 under current policies, setting the stage for the proposed 90% reduction target

Click for more news covering the latest on carbon capture & storage

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