Deep emission reductions needed in 2030 for Paris Climate Agreement

14-11-2017 | News item

By ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement, the Netherlands has committed to pursuing an ambitious climate policy. There are various methods for translating global targets into national policy objectives. This report shows that, for 2030,  corresponding to around 50% to 55% for total greenhouse gas emissions (compared to 1990), CO2 emission reductions would need to be around 40% to 50%.

Large uncertainties in translating the Paris Climate Agreement into national policy objectives

Depending on uncertainty and societal choices, the Paris Climate Agreement could be translated into a carbon budget, from 2015 onwards, of 250–450 GtCO2 and 600–1250 GtCO2, for a 1.5 oC and 2 oC target, respectively. These are partly related to scientific uncertainty, but also to societal choices. Reductions strongly depend on the use of so-called negative emissions, and choices with respect to the risk of overshoot of the target. In all cases, however, rapid emission reductions are needed. Global objectives need to be translated into national targets. Important aspects here are principles of fairness and cost-effectiveness.

Achieving the 2 °C target requires at least 90% to 100% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

The calculations assumed a likely (>66%) probability and equal global emissions per head of population by 2050. The range depends, among other things, on the reliance on long-term negative emissions. Illustrative calculations in this report, based on so-called carbon budgets, show that, for both the EU and the Netherlands, achieving the 1.5 °C target (with a probability of around 50%) would require a reduction of more than 100% by 2050. This roughly means a complete decarbonisation of the energy system by 2050.