The European Climate Foundation has produced a fascinating report, ROADMAP 2050, which maps a path for the EU to a low carbon economy. The consortium of authors includes heavy hitters like McKinsey & Company and the Energy Futures Lab at University College London but they also brought in Rem Koolhas’ Office of Metropolitan Architecture to create some, frankly, brilliant graphics to support the heavy technical narrative. So there’s a spreadsheet indicating how much the grid will cost per EU household but there’s also an image like the one above dividing Europe not by nation by predominant renewable energy resource. If you look closely you’ll see that parts of Spain, France and Italy are now called Solaria. And below they show us what the suburbs of Barcelona look like when peppered with solar panels. Some of the ground the report covers will not be news to our readers. Start with efficiency measure across all sectors, deploy low carbon technologies and force a shift in fuels within the transport and building industries. Since the availability of renewables is not constant, Europe needs a connected power grid that can be fed from Britain when its windy and Spain when sunny. Perhaps more surprisingly, all this costs an average of less than 300 Euros per household per year.
To reach the stated goals of the EU (80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels) the report finds that the technical means already exist but there are significant implementation challenges – policy and other- and they need to start right away. So, basically, get to work people!
And don’t bother asking yourself why no such comprehensive report exists for the U.S., or North America for that matter. The answer is too depressing to contemplate.