Page 48 - European Energy Innovation - autumn 2017 publication
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48  Autumn 2017 European Energy Innovation


Why Europe needs to install more
PV Systems to deliver the
Paris Agreement

By Arnulf Jäger-Waldau (pictured), European Commission

                                                        The 21st session of the
                                                                    Conference of the Parties
                                                                    (COP 21) to the United
                                                                    Nations Framework
                                                        Convention on Climate Change
                                                        (UNFCCC) in Paris, France ended in
                                                        December 2015 with the landmark
                                                        agreement to keep the maximum
                                                        global average temperature rise
                                                        as close as possible to 1.5°C. This
                                                        agreement, now known as the Paris
                                                        Agreement entered into force on
                                                        4 November 2016.

                                                        Despite this success, there is general
                                                        consensus that the Nationally
                                                        Determined Contributions (NDC’s)
                                                        proposed by each country are not
                                                        sufficient to reach the goals of the Paris
                                                        Agreement. With the current policies
                                                        in place global green-house gas (GHG)
                                                        emission are not projected to decrease
                                                        fast enough to stay below 2ºC [1].

                                                        The decarbonisation of our energy
                                                        supply is an important component to
                                                        achieve the targets, because 65 % of
                                                        the world’s current CO2 emissions are
                                                        due to burning fossil fuels. In 2014,
                                                        81 % of our total primary energy
                                                        supply depended on burning fossil
                                                        fuels, namely 29 % coal, 31 % oil
                                                        and 21 % natural gas [2]. In terms of
                                                        final energy consumption electricity
                                                        only accounted for 18.1 %, but was
                                                        responsible for 35.2 % of the total CO2
                                                        emissions [2, 3].

                                                        According to the World Energy

                                                        Outlook (WEO) 2016 of the

                                                        International Energy Agency (IEA), the

                                                        global average of CO2 emissions per
                                                        kWh of electricity was 515g in 2014 [4].

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