Technology pathways in decarbonisation scenarios

The Paris Agreement sets the objective of limiting the global temperature rise to well below 2°C and while the UNFCCC discussion are still on-going on what should exactly be the carbon budget for Europe, it is very likely that this means for the EU the need to achieve total net-zero emissions energy system (i.e. zero after CCS) around 2050.

So far the decarbonisation scenarios analysed by the Commission were achieving 80-90% GHG emissions reduction by 2050 leaving some residual emissions in all sectors (transport being the sector with the highest unabated emissions). In order to abate all the residual emissions in all the sectors, new technologies will likely be needed.

While today one cannot have complete knowledge of all technologies that will be deployed to achieve full decarbonisation of the energy system, we have already some indication of the technology pathways that are currently being developed, their current costs and performance as well as their likely evolution in the future. Private companies and public authorities have already made investments in research and demonstration projects as well as, in some case, full-scale industrial activities on these technologies.

The technologies to be deployed under are both novel technologies, as well as consolidated technologies for which potentials for improvement exist and need to be fully exploited in order to reach extreme decarbonisation scenarios.

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