A Europe that is 100% supplied by renewable energy is within reach – but how do we get there? This was the key question that was discussed during a Virtual Study Tour organised by Climate Action Network Europe specifically for the Central Eastern and Southern European civil society actors working on energy policies in November 2021 and supported by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI).
The EU recently adopted a climate target of 55% net greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2030. Science tells us that this is not enough. To reach the Paris Agreement targets of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C, the EU can and must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by the year 2030, achieving net zero emissions in Europe by 2040. We need policies and ambitious actions to enable a rapid transformation in all sectors, including energy, transport and buildings, as well as in its industrial systems.
With a series of thematic online exchanges, the Virtual Study Tour brought together policy makers and experts in renewable energy from NGOs, industry associations, and civil society at national and EU level to share their knowledge and experiences on driving the transition to 100% renewable Europe, and to explore together how EU energy policies and national political developments can help or hinder this urgently needed transition away from fossil fuels and to sustainable renewable energy.
The online events also focused on addressing questions related to maintaining a stable and secure energy supply in a system based on 100% renewable energy, as well as barriers and opportunities for a just and fast transition to renewable energy across Europe and specifically in the Central Eastern Europe, also looking at the role of cities and businesses, where national policies and actions are often lagging behind.
The Virtual Study Tour was attended by 90 participants representing various NGOs, think-tanks, academia from Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, Croatia, Slovakia, Czechia, but also Spain and Portugal as well as Turkey and Ukraine. It featured 20 speakers including Members of the European Parliament, European Commission officials, industry representatives, business and city networks, as well as experts from major European civil society networks and think-thanks.
The key takeaway from the virtual study tour was that we have the tools and a vast potential of renewable energy for our energy system to be based on 100% renewable energy.. We must and can substantially reduce the amount of energy we consume, rapidly phase-out of all fossil fuels, and massively increase sustainable renewable energy to fully cover the remaining energy demand. We do not need false solutions such as nuclear energy or fossil gas, which is portrayed as a “transition fuel”. Nevertheless there are still hurdles and in order to overcome them, political will, people’s support and participation are key. The benefits and opportunities of a 100% renewable energy system for the economy and the society are too important to be missed.
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