Pathways to an EU in 2050 with net-zero GHG-emissions


Federal Environment Agency

Duration  January  2022 – December 2024


At the end of 2018, the EU Commission presented its long-term vision “A clean planet for all”, which was the basis for the agreement on the 2050 target of net zero emissions that was enshrined in the EU Climate Change Act in 2021. The vision was based on two contrasting scenarios for achieving the net-zero target: scenario 1.5TECH placed emphasis on technological innovation and saw a strong role for technical innovations, while scenario 1.5LIFE significantly limited their use through a range of lifestyle-related measures, such as a reduction in meat consumption, etc. In terms of 2030, both scenarios were still significantly less ambitious than the current 55% target.

In 2019, the UBA itself developed a target picture for a greenhouse gas-neutral EU with the study ‘GHG-neutral EU 2050 – a scenario of an EU with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and its implications’. This is based on consistent sustainability criteria such as the exclusion of CCS or nuclear energy, which certainly play a role in the EU scenarios. This picture thus takes a different path in parts than the EU scenarios, even if the goal of greenhouse gas neutrality is the same. Thus, different target pictures exist side by side, which the present project examines more closely in a model study by means of two scenarios. In addition, the project will investigate the more specific question of what influence the EU taxonomy for sustainable investment has on greenhouse gas emissions and the achievement of the target.


The aim of this project is to achieve a better understanding of the development towards a greenhouse gas neutral EU (EU27) in 2050. For this purpose, all greenhouse gas sources are mapped using a suite of models. Three policy scenarios are modeled as development paths that all reach the state of greenhouse gas neutrality. The analysis is carried out using energy system models which cover all of the relevant sectors.

Tasks of IREES

  • Modelling of the buildings and district heating sectors

Project partner

  • Öko-Institut

  • Fraunhofer ISI


Dr. Jan Steinbach
Dr. Jan Steinbach
Jana Deurer
Jana Deurer
Eftim Popovski
Eftim Popovski