Economic sectors on the road to climate neutrality

Industrie Quelle: Christopher Burns, unsplash

The goal of greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 requires rapid, drastic and comprehensive emission reductions – immediately. Since society considers certain activities to be necessary, but their greenhouse gas emissions cannot be technically avoided completely or only at enormous cost, residual emissions will remain. These can only be offset by actively removing CO₂ from the atmosphere. How many residual emissions do emission-intensive economic sectors in the EU claim for themselves? How do they intend to compensate for these and contribute to achieving net zero emissions in the EU by 2050?

Alina Brad and Etienne Schneider from the University of Vienna have investigated these questions together with CDRSynTra researcher Tobias Haas from RIFS Potsdam. In their study “Whose negative emissions? Exploring emergent perspectives on CDR from the EU’s hard to abate and fossil industries”, they analyzed position papers and roadmaps on the topic of “net zero” from six key European trade associations representing companies from sectors whose emissions are considered “hard to abate”.

Their conclusion: there are very wide ranges – some associations have presented detailed climate neutrality scenarios, while others indicate a very wide range of potential residual emissions. In general, the scenarios are based on great optimism regarding technological development, but at the same time there are also doubts about individual technologies. The researchers are therefore left with many question marks as to whether the net zero targets can be met.

The article has been published in the journal “frontiers in climate” as part of a special issue on “Carbon dioxide removal”:

Perspectives from the social sciences and humanities”

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