1.5 degrees, 2 degrees or more? The Paris Agreement and the carbon-neutral EU’s climate ambition in 2050 have been held back by the war in Ukraine. Or do they have? New research from Aarhus University shows that the very high gas prices currently experienced by the Eurozone are a very efficient driver for the green transition.
Just days after Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine, researchers from the Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering at Aarhus University began to calculate the long-term effects of cutting off Russian gas for decarbonization of the European energy system.
The research is based on a high-resolution model of the entire European energy system, including gas-dependent industries, and has just been published in the scientific journal. joule, The research suggests that depending on the level of ambition in the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise, cutting gas may indeed have a significant impact.
Politically, since the 2015 Paris Agreement, it has aimed to limit temperature rise to a maximum of 2 °C and work to limit it to 1.5 °C.
The strategy has been to replace coal with gas in a transitional phase, and the war in Ukraine has seriously challenged this strategy. Gorm Brun Andresen, Associate Professor at Aarhus University, is one of the researchers behind the article, and he says:
“Russia is Europe’s largest supplier of gas, and in 2019, 34 percent of the eurozone’s gas consumption came from Russia. With Russian gas phasing out, we don’t have enough gas for this so-called transition phase This means that we have to choose between investing in the immediate installation of large amounts of wind and solar power, or going back to other options, including coal. The first scenario aligns well with a very ambitious climate strategy , and it would very quickly reduce Europe’s energy reliance on imported gas. However, the second scenario makes it difficult to actually honor the Paris Agreement,” he says.
The model developed by the researchers shows the cheapest and most cost-effective routes for the European energy system for 1.5-degree and 2-degree scenarios, respectively. The model suggests that high gas prices are forcing European citizens to abandon gas-powered installations and install heat pumps instead.
Since the heating sector accounts for about one-third of total European gas consumption, this transition will have a major impact on the green transition and speaks in favor of the 1.5-degree ambition.
“It’s interesting that this means the gas price European politicians have been talking about for years. It doesn’t mean that the gas price and the restructuring of the heating sector is enough for a 1.5-degree scenario. Either way But it advances the green transition to a far greater extent than using gas in a transitional phase,” says Gorm Brun Andresen.
Abbe Gotske, a PhD student at Aarhus University and researching renewable energy sources in the European context, noted that it is now important to focus on the climate ambitions of European countries:
“The reduction in Europe’s total gas supply could help accelerate the uptake of renewable energy sources, provided countries maintain their climate ambitions. If not, we simply risk that other fossil fuels may become full in the interim period.” will replace the gas towards decarbonization,” he says.
The researchers behind the model keep no secret that they believe the fastest path to European energy security is the goal of an ambitious plan and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
“But this requires a large-scale roll-out of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind,” says Abbe Gottske and continues:
“We need to install about 400 GW per year in the years 2025-2035, and this will be a major challenge for European politicians.”
material provided by Aarhus University, Original written by Jesper Brun. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.