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Growth implications within the EU of meeting the Paris Agreement targets

Author : Alan Franck, Editor, Hazardex

06 March 2019

A recent report by Eurofound, the European labour organisation, concludes that meeting the Paris Agreement targets on emissions reduction would be positive for the EU, with investment in renewables and energy efficiency helping to boost economic growth and employment. Hitting the 2C target set out in the Paris Agreement would result in 1.1% additional growth between now and 2030 across EU member states, and a 0.5% increase in employment.

Image - United Nations
Image - United Nations

Boosted by higher spending on renewables and energy efficiency, alongside lower spending on fossil fuels, the report projects a 1.7% investment boost over the period, as well as a 0.7% rise in consumption across the EU by 2030.

On a national level, Spain and Germany should enjoy marked increases in jobs as a result of economic restructuring as energy systems and infrastructure adapt. Some countries could suffer, however, because of their larger than average dependence on fossil fuels.

Due to its large coal mining sector, for example, Poland could suffer a decrease in employment under the modelled scenario.

The German government has finally decided to close down its coal-fired power stations by 2038 - a long way off, but a momentous change given the traditional reliance of that country on electricity from black and brown coal.

Also interesting is how electricity consumption has declined in some countries as more efficient equipment and appliances are introduced, and industry adapts to new economic realities. This seems to be the case in the UK, where power plant output has fallen by 16% since 2005 and demand has closely followed.

Although there is still a long way to go, some European countries have made huge strides in decarbonising their energy sectors over the last few years and should see tangible economic and employment benefits if their efforts continue.

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