The unsustainability of the electric car

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The European Green Deal sets ambitious targets for decarbonising the European economy.

This includes EU plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030. The European Green Deal also calls for the EU to become carbon-neutral by 2050. For their part, environmentalists and scientists call for even more ambitious cuts, of at least 65% by 2030, if we are to meet the objective of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2⁰C.

But what does reducing greenhouse gas emissions by this magnitude actually mean? How do we change an economy like the European one that depends on fossil fuels for more than 70% of its energy?

What is a decarbonised society and how do its trade, transportation and cities function? Are the policies that we find in political discourse – electric cars, public transport, energy efficiency, renewable energy systems, etc –sufficient to achieve these objectives?

In order to answer these questions, we used the simulations of our MEDEAS-World integrated assessment model. MEDEAS-World is an energy-economy-environment model based on biophysical economics, which goes beyond the simplistic capital-labour duality of classical economics by giving energy a central place in the economy.



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