The European Commission is looking at cost-efficient ways to make the European economy more climate-friendly. By 2050, the European Union could cut most of its greenhouse gas emissions.


The 2050 Roadmap is one of the long-term policy plans intended to put the EU on course to using resources in a sustainable way. Clean technologies are in the center of the future for Europe’s economy.

The Roadmap suggests that, by 2050, the EU should cut its emissions to 80% below 1990 levels through domestic reductions. It sets out a cost-effective pathway to this goal with reduction milestones of 40% by 2030 and 60% by 2040. For the short term, the EU has put in place legislation to reduce its emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and it is well on track to reach this target. Europe is also offering to step up this cut to 30% if other major economies can agree on the global reduction efforts.


Sectoral perspective


The Roadmap to a low-carbon economy shows how the effort of reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be divided cost-effectively between different economic sectors according to their technological and economic potential.


GHG reductions compared to 1990 2005 2030 2050
Total -7% -40 to -44% -79 to -82%
Power (CO2) -7% -54 to -68% -93 to -99%
Industry (CO2) -20% -34 to -40% -83 to -87%
Transport (incl. CO2 aviation, excl. maritime) +30% +20 to -9% -54 to -67%
Residential and services (CO2) -12% -37 to -53% -88 to-91%
Agriculture (Non-CO2) -20% -36 to -37% -42 to -49%
Other Non-CO2 emissions -30% -72 to -73% -70 to -78%



Innovation, green growth & energy efficiency


The transition to a low-carbon society will be based on the increased innovation and investment in clean technologies and low- or zero-carbon energy. Energy efficiency will be a key driver of the transition, as the EU could be using around 30% less energy in 2050 than in 2005. Moreover, greater use of clean technologies will drastically reduce air pollution in European cities.


A low-carbon economy would have a much greater need for renewable sources of energy, energy-efficient building materials, hybrid and electric cars, smart grid equipment, low-carbon power generation and carbon capture and storage technologies.


To make the transition the EU would need to invest an additional €270 billion annually, over the next four decades. The extra investment would spur growth within a wide range of manufacturing sectors and environmental services and could create up to 1.5 million additional jobs by 2020 if governments used revenues from CO2 taxes and from auctioning of emission allowances to reduce labour costs.


EU’s 2050 Roadmap