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Comparing value chain GHG emissions in the power and transport sectors for selected technologies

The European Commission has recently published the EU Long-term Vision for a Climate Neutral Economy in which the European Union (EU) aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 in line with the requirements of the Paris Agreement, the need for global emissions to significantly curb and, more broadly, for our economies to substantially decarbonize.

This study focuses on the contribution (and the potential for reduction) from the power generation and transport sectors. It is intended to provide an independent and transparent assessment of the GHG emissions in EU and in 5 countries (Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Romania), in the current situation and as projected in 2030 and 2050. The study has been developed by coupling life-cycle tools with energy transition scenarios analysis. It covers the entire electricity and gas value chain, while highlighting the contribution of each phase from exploration and production, to final consumption, using internationally reliable and publicly-available sources.

The transport analysis shows that, both under worldwide-harmonized vehicle test procedure conditions and in real driving ones, electric vehicles already outperform internal combustion vehicles in all the geographies considered. The analysis also points out that the benefit of an electric car increases overtime: an electric car bough today in Europe will emit less and less GHG every year from now on, due to the increasing share of renewables in the electricity generation mix.

As of today, an electric car generates well to wheel + life cycle GHG emissions of around 30-40% less than internal combustion vehicles, in 2050 the benefit will range from 60% to 70%. Thus, electric mobility will have to play a key role in the transport sector in order to meet the objectives set in the Paris Agreement.

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Comparing value chain GHG emissions in the power and transport sectors

Read ERM's report on GHG emissions in the power and transport sectors.