EU New technology and more powerful policies are required if member states are to meet the EU's new, long-term climate targets for transport, buildings and agriculture.

This will drive development forward, which can benefit several of Vattenfall's operations, says Erik Filipsson, Policy Advisor at Vattenfall.

Roughly every ten years there is a distribution among the EU countries so that the Union as a whole can reach the joint climate targets that have been established. The EU has now set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The new requirements create a need for transition throughout the entire EU, where all sectors in society contribute.

The climate targets for the energy sector, heavy industry and aviation are determined by the emissions trading system. The volume of emission allowances then sets the target level and guarantees that these operations contribute to the required reduction in emissions. The target is therefore not binding on a per-country basis.

For transport, buildings and agriculture, the EU shares the targets at a national level. The European Commission recently presented its proposal for how responsibility should be shared between countries for the years 2021-2030. This proposal means that climate work is intensified compared to the period up to 2020.

"We will see a sharp increase in climate-related initiatives in these sectors," says Erik Filipsson. "Fuel for both commercial traffic and private vehicles must improve from a climate perspective, as must the heating of homes, which largely still requires fossil fuels in Europe."

Member states face partly different challenges depending on their starting points. In Sweden and Germany, cars are still relatively large and fuel-intensive. In the Netherlands, many homes are heated using fossil gas, while emissions from Swedish homes have decreased sharply in recent years. In countries such as Ireland and Denmark, a relatively large part of the challenge is concentrated to the agricultural sector.

"District heating from effective CHP plants with low carbon dioxide emissions is a very good alternative to individual heating. It is therefore probable that Vattenfall's climate-smart products can become more competitive when the requirements become stricter in these sectors as well."

"Within the automotive industry, electric vehicles are being developed more rapidly, and demand for electricity as fuel for vehicles will also increase. Vattenfall's investments in charging stations and new types of charging services are also highly relevant, since greater efforts will be needed to break the transport sector's dependence on fossil fuels in order to reach the new climate targets."

As a whole, the countries in the EU must decrease their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are among the countries that are being given the greatest responsibility. Like other wealthy EU countries in north-western Europe, they are tasked with reducing their emissions by upwards of 40 per cent. All EU member states must decrease their emissions, but countries with relatively low economic strength are allocated a smaller portion of the burden.

The proposal is in line with the goals the EU presented in its contribution to the major climate summit in Paris (COP21) in December of last year. The world's countries have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ensure global warming is limited to well below 2°C, and preferably 1.5°C.

EU countries' climate targets
The European Commission's established targets for how much member states must decrease their greenhouse gas emissions up to 2030 compared to 2005. The requirements are primarily based on the countries' economic strength (GDP per capita). Sweden -40%, Luxembourg -40%, Denmark -39%, Finland -39%, Germany -38%, France -37%, UK -37%, Netherlands -36%, Austria -36%, Belgium -35%, Italy -33%, Ireland -30%, Spain -26%, Cyprus -24%, Malta -19%, Portugal -17%, Greece -16%, Slovenia -15%, Czech Republic -14% Estonia -13%, Slovakia -12%, Lithuania -9%, Croatia -7%, Hungary -7%, Poland -7%, Latvia -6%, Romania -2 % Bulgaria 0%.

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