Europe Could Double Its Emission Reductions For €2 a Day Per Person Cost

40% study image

Here's another report showing how comparatively little it could cost to take meaningful action on climate change: The Stockholm Environment Institute, in partnership with Friends of the Earth have released a new report showing that the European Union could double its current emission reduction pledge of 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 at a daily cost of about €2 ($3) per person:Travel and dietary choices also figure heavily into The 40% Study: By 2020 air travel would decline by 10% and private cars by 4%. Rail travel would see an increase of 9%. Consumption of meat would drop by 60%.

lentil soup photo

photo: Melissa Goodman
Train Displaces Both Car and Air Travel by 2050
Extending this path out to 2050, journeys in private cars would drop from about 75% of all trips today to 43%; rail travel would take the place of air for 80% of current flights under 1000km in length. By the same time period wind power would account for 55% of electricity generation. Overall emissions reductions by mid-century would be 90% below 1990 levels.

eurostar trains photo

photo: Oliver Mallich
8 Times Lower Personal Carbon Footprints
In terms of per capita emissions, such changes would result in personal carbon footprints 8 times lower than they are today -- keep in mind the average European's carbon footprint is already about half that of the average person in the US or Canada.

Climate Aid to Poor Nations Needed as Well
Additionally the report says that aggressive emissions cuts within Europe will not be enough to avert dangerous climate change. Financing mitigation and adaptation efforts in the global South will also be required. An additional 1-3% of EU GDP is required in this area the report estimates. That's €150-450 ($225-676) million per year by 2020, or less than €3 per person.

So, for a combined total of €1825 per year per person -- and I'm sure there's a way to divide that up more equitably along income lines -- Europeans could prevent the worst of climate change and help the majority of the world's people who have done nothing to create the problem but will bear the worst of it.

Read the original: The 40% Study: Mobilising Europe to achieve climate justice [PDF]

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