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WIREs Energy Environ.
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The European Union challenge: integration of energy, climate, and economic policy

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Abstract The European Union (EU), the largest economy in the world, has binding sustainable energy and climate goals for the year 2020. The EU has recently presented a vision of a low‐carbon Europe in 2050, which requires the cutting of carbon emissions by over 80%. This will necessitate increased technology development and market deployment efforts in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean energy. In addition, such plans need to pay attention to the uneven financial capabilities of the 27 EU member states to undertake such ambitious climate measures. To reach acceptable levels of carbon emissions on a global scale, compensating for economic asymmetries worldwide may require a considerably higher input from Europe as well. The co‐benefits of a proactive European climate policy may be considerable, in particular for economic growth. Achieving these benefits will require greater integration of energy and climate and economic policy, which could form the basis of a green economy in Europe. This article is categorized under: Energy and Climate > Economics and Policy Energy Policy and Planning > Economics and Policy
Left, primary energy sources in the EU; the numbers in brackets show the EU's import dependency on these fuels. Right, energy use by sector in the EU.
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Elements of the green energy economy.
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Example of relationships between the global CO2 emission reduction potential and the total abatement costs. Unit costs are $10–100 per tCO2.
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Cost of CO2 reduction (1 tCO2/capita level, $40tCO2) for paying countries when nations below a threshold value of GDP are exempted from the CO2 costs. Also shown is the fraction of the world population affected by such exclusion.
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Primary energy costs (blue) and CO2 reduction costs (red) on a global scale. The permitted per capita emission level is 1 tCO2 and unit costs $40/tCO2. Two different burden‐sharing cases (in green) are shown: global carbon‐cutting costs are shared equally and countries with a per capita GDP of less than $10/day are exempted from paying.
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Present carbon emission levels and energy intensities of the member states of the EU, EEA, and Turkey (left). Required emission reductions and associated costs to reach a 1 tCO2/cap level, with an average cost of €40/tCO2. (€1 = $1.3 in December, 2011)
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Required emission reductions by sector in the EU in order to reach a low‐carbon economy by 2050 and the current trend.
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