Related research: What is the European Unionʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Climate Analytics recently analysed how the EU can align decarbonisation trajectories with the Paris Agreement, to achieve a 1.5˚C pathway. Results can be found on the 1.5˙C national pathway explorer website.




Climate Analytics uses IPCC 1.5°C compatible pathways in combination with more recent lines of scientific evidence to show how a selection of 70 countries across all regions, including the European Union, can align their decarbonisation trajectories with the Paris Agreement, and live up to their promises to prevent dangerous climate change.

In order to align with a 1.5°C compatible pathway, Climate Analytics identified the following key findings from its EU analysis on economy-wide and power sector trajectories (as of June 2021), which are relevant to the 4I TRACTION project:

  • Paris Agreement compatibility would require emissions reductions of 60-69% below 1990 levels by 2030, excluding LULUCF. This is a greater reduction than the EU's agreed emissions reduction goal of ‘net domestic reduction of at least 55%’ below 1990 levels by 2030.
  • Current policies adopted by the EU and its member states would result in emissions reductions of 30-46% below 1990 levels by 2030 (excl. LULUCF), indicating that further substantial policy action is needed to meet the new 2030 goal. Since this analysis was conducted, the 2030 target has become a part of the EU Climate Law and the European Commission has proposed a package of new legislative proposals, the “Fit for 55”.
  • The EU should reach net zero GHG emissions by around 2050 with a level of remaining GHG emissions not higher than 294 MtCO2e by 2050 or 94% below 1990 levels.
  • An increase in energy efficiency in all sectors, but especially in buildings and transport sectors, offers a great potential to accelerate decarbonisation.
  • The share of renewables in the power sector needs to increase from 38% in 2020 to 88-90% in 2030. By 2050 almost all electricity generated in the EU should be coming from renewable sources.
  • The share of coal in electricity generation fell from 23% in 2017 to 13% in 2020. By the end of the decade, almost all coal needs to be phased out from the power sector
  • In 2017, the share of natural gas was lower than that of coal, at 18% of the EU’s electricity generation, though it has increased to 20% in 2020. Its share needs to decrease to 4-5% by 2030 and be completely phased-out by the end of the next decade, which stands in contrast to continued investment in natural gas infrastructure in the EU.
  • In order to align with 1.5°C pathways, carbon intensity needs to fall to 50 gCO2/kWh by 2030, with some scenarios reaching 0 gCO2/kWh by 2030 and becoming a source of negative emissions towards 2050.


These findings will be considered as part of the scenario development led by Climate Analytics as part of WP1. Additional analysis of the transport, buildings, and industry sectors will be shared in the coming months  on the 1.5˚C national pathway explorer.