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Journal Article

Narrative-driven alternative roads to achieve mid-century CO2 net neutrality in Europe


Rodrigues,  Renato
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Pietzcker,  Robert C.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Fragkos,  Panagiotis
External Organizations;

Price,  James
External Organizations;

McDowall,  Will
External Organizations;

Siskos,  Pelopidas
External Organizations;

Fotiou,  Theofano
External Organizations;


Luderer,  Gunnar
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Capros,  Pantelis
External Organizations;

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Rodrigues, R., Pietzcker, R. C., Fragkos, P., Price, J., McDowall, W., Siskos, P., Fotiou, T., Luderer, G., Capros, P. (2022): Narrative-driven alternative roads to achieve mid-century CO2 net neutrality in Europe. - Energy, 239, Part A, 121908.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25997
The tightened climate mitigation targets of the EU green deal raise an important question: Which strategy should be used to achieve carbon emissions net neutrality? This study explores stakeholder-designed narratives of the future energy system development within the deep decarbonization context. European carbon net-neutrality goals are put under test in a model comparison exercise using state of the art Energy-Environment-Economy (E3) models: ETM-UCL, PRIMES and REMIND. Results show that while achieving the transition to carbon neutrality by mid-century is feasible under quite different future energy systems, some robust commonalities emerge. Electrification of end use sectors combined with large-scale expansion of renewable energy is a no-regret decision for all strategies; Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) plays an important role for achieving net-neutral targets under all scenarios, but is most relevant when demand-side changes are limited; hydrogen and synthetic fuels can be a relevant mitigation option for mid-century mitigation in hard-to-abate sectors; energy efficiency can reduce the supply system strain. Finally, high carbon prices (300–900€/tCO2) are needed under all strategies in order to achieve carbon net neutrality in 2050.