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Accelerating climate action through science

The EU aims to become climate neutral by 2050, in line with its commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement. This Result Pack focuses on 10 EU-funded Horizon 2020 projects that are helping to pave the way for a climate-neutral economy and society by developing state-of-art knowledge.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

In a landscape already feeling the heat of climate change, Europe is facing a myriad of challenges. Heatwaves and wildfires are becoming more common, while biodiversity and crop yields are decreasing. The repercussions extend beyond the environment. In the summer of 2022 low water levels disrupted riverine transport along the Rhine and other major rivers, impacting Europe’s economy. A changing climate can also affect people's health, a fact highlighted in the COP28 climate summit. The EU is a key player in UN climate talks and in 2015 it demonstrated its desire for action by signing the 2015 Paris Agreement. Under the agreement, the EU is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % below 1990 levels by 2030. This ambitious target is enshrined in the 2021 European Climate Law, and also forms part of the European Green Deal, the EU’s roadmap for becoming climate neutral by 2050, which is crucial to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. To reach this goal the EU is supporting more renewable energy, greater energy efficiency, cleaner transport, greener farming and a circular economy. Unavoidable emissions will be compensated by improved forest management, conserving ecosystems and investing in innovation and research to push back the frontiers of knowledge on adaptation so that we can gather more and better data on climate-related risks and losses.

Path to a low-carbon future

This new Results Pack highlights a wide range of aspects that support the low-carbon transition within the main sectors responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, both at an EU and global level. It explores the technical feasibility, financial viability, social acceptance and potential co-benefits and trade-offs of low carbon transition pathways to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. The 10 projects featured in this Pack offer recommendations to policymakers at national and EU level and identify strategies to significantly reduce GHG emissions in the coming decades. Their results will provide a better understanding of the feasibility and socio-economic impacts of an altered environment. They will also help avoid the worst effects of global warming while benefiting health and energy security, and competitiveness in green technologies while ensuring Europe remains a global leader in the fight against climate change.

EU-funded research in the centre stage

The COMFORT project brought together experts from across Earth system science, oceanography, fisheries science, and ecology to investigate tipping points, which when exceeded, can lead to significant and often irreversible changes in the marine ecosystems. LOCOMOTION designed a more effective open-source Integrated Assessment Model (IAM), providing a reliable and thorough system for assessing sustainability policy options and identifying effective pathways for transitioning to a low-carbon society. NEGEM assessed the seven Negative Emission Technologies and Practices (NETPs) and their potential contributions to climate neutrality, as a supplementary strategy to emissions’ mitigation. The 4C project integrated observations and models to improve understanding of carbon-climate interactions and increase confidence in climate projections. To recognise knowledge gaps, CONSTRAIN initiated a more frequent update of key climate information such as how atmospheric aerosols affect the Earth's radiation budget, and the roles of clouds and oceans in driving climate change. EXHAUSTION quantified shifts in cardiopulmonary disease (CPD) mortality and morbidity due to extreme heat and air pollution in the context of the warming climate and identified strategies for mitigating their adverse effects. ENGAGE applied and enhanced integrated assessment models to identify pathways that limit peak temperature in line with the Paris Agreement. Researchers from CAMPAIGNers developed the Climate Campaigners phone app to educate and motivate citizens to change behaviours and provide data to inform policy decisions and contribute to predictive modelling tools for lifestyle changes in energy use, mobility, food and consumption. Under the VERIFY project, researchers provided a more accurate assessment of carbon stocks and GHG emissions including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) globally. Finally, LANDMARC developed carbon measurement and monitoring tools to measure the potential of Land-based mitigation technologies and practices (LMTs) in agriculture, forestry, and other land use sectors.