SCIENCE ADVICE FOR POLICY
BY EUROPEAN ACADEMIES

A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe

There are many possible pathways towards a carbon-neutral future. Achieving it by 2050 is possible, but this requires urgent action.

This is the central conclusion of SAPEA’s evidence review report on the energy transition, and the corresponding Scientific Opinion of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.

But this is not just a technical challenge. To make the energy transition a reality, we need to solve a huge systemic problem, coordinating countless individual voluntary decisions on investment, consumption and behaviour across Europe.

This means transforming the entire European energy system — a change which will affect every part of our society and require huge investment during the transition. It must be done in a socially equitable way. And we already need to accelerate progress if we want to achieve the EU’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Many different policy options must be evaluated for their potential to deliver emission targets, as well as their economic efficiency and the contribution they make to maintaining social balance.

Using these criteria, the best available evidence points to six main themes:

This Evidence Review Report was prepared by a working group co-chaired by Professors Peter Lund and Christoph Schmidt.

Recommendations from the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors

Working group members

Director
Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology Research, Spain
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Professor
KU Leuven, Belgium & EnergyVille
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Professor
National Technical University of Athens, Greece
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Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, France
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Professor
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Technical University Berlin
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National Laboratory for Ecology and Geology, Portugal
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Professor
Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
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Professor
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
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Professor
University of Primorska & InnoRenew CoE, Slovenia
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Professor
University of Münster, Germany
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Professor
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
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National Research Council, Italy
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Professor
University of Münster, Germany
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Professor
Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, Germany
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Professor
University of Sussex, UK and Aarhus University, Denmark
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Professor
Imperial College London, UK
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Professor
Central European University, Hungary
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Professor
Aalborg University, Denmark
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Professor
Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
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Events

Webinar on Energy efficiency: A science advice perspective
This European Parliament Intergroup webinar will bring together scientific experts, policy advisors, stakeholders and citizen representatives to discuss the future of energy efficiency. Last but not least, this online event will also present recent evidence and policy recommendations delivered by the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism.
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Euro-CASE Annual Conference "Building back better"
The Euro-CASE Annual Conference will be hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering on the topic of “building back better”, in relation to the tandem challenges of economic recovery from the pandemic and achieving climate neutrality and resilience in Europe by 2050.
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The climate and energy transition in the age of transformation
The energy transition requires immediate action science-based advice from the European academies by Filip Johnsson, Professor, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology, IVA Fellow.
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Time travel and climate: changing the past to fix the future
What would you do if you invented a time machine? Would you travel back to the past, to alter history or fix mistakes? Or would you rather jump forward, to collect future knowledge and bring back advanced technologies? And how could a time machine help us reinvent our energy system?
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Science advice for a clean and fair energy transition: a challenge and a call for action
This panel discussion organized by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors in collaboration with SAPEA will allow scientists who advise governments and international organizations around the world to present the key messages of their recent joint statement, and to discuss them with representatives from businesses, policy and civil society.
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Transitioning to new energy systems: What impact will it have on society and on our lives?
The most recent report of the IPCC, released in early August, was described by the UN as a ‘code red for humanity’. It states that climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying. The world now anticipates November’s global climate conference, COP26, to see how nations respond to this latest stark warning.
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Science advice for energy policy: Who's afraid of epistemic diversity?
What are the challenges in organising, generating and absorbing interdisciplinary science for policy? These key challenges of science advice, revealed by the pandemic, were the focus of a session co-organised by SAPEA, the European Commission Joint Research Centre and the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors as part of the Fourth International Conference on Science Advice to Governments in Québec, Canada.
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Energy transition and the EU hydrogen strategy
The European Strategies for Energy System Integration and for Hydrogen have been in the limelight of debates over recent months and a related report was adopted by the Parliament's plenary in May. Furthermore, the European Commission (EC) is now proposing a "Fit for 55" legislative package (expected for 14 July) to fundamentally overhaul the EU's climate policy architecture and put the EU on track towards reaching its target of a 55% net emissions reduction by 2030.
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News

29 June 2021: Energy transition needs to accelerate urgently, says EU’s Scientific Advice Mechanism
There are many possible pathways towards a carbon-neutral future -- and achieving it by 2050 is possible but requires urgent action. This is the conclusion of a group of top scientists tasked by the European Commission with advising on how to facilitate the energy transition in Europe.
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Academic impact

Media coverage

30 April 2022: MISTRA ELECTRIFICATION
MISTRA ELECTRIFICATION Annual report 2021
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16 December 2021: Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub
Christmas Greetings from the Hub Director, Eystein Jansen
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31 October 2021: TAZ
Lehren aus der Coronapandemie
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27 October 2021: News Wise
Clean energy demands socially just policies — Experts on COP26’s energy theme available from Aalto University
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26 October 2021: EOC
ACCELERATING THE GREEN TRANSITION CAN LOWER ENERGY PRICES IN THE LONG TERM ACCORDING TO EU CHIEF SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS
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22 October 2021: Eseficiencia
Para el GCSA de la Comisión Europea, acelerar la transición energética puede abaratar la energía
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22 October 2021: Mirage
Addressing soaring energy prices and energy transition in Europe
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21 October 2021: The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Addressing soaring energy prices and the energy transition in Europe
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21 October 2021: Smart Grids Info
El GCSA de la Comisión Europea apuesta por la transición verde para abaratar la energía a largo plazo
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20 October 2021: Reasearch Professional
Invest now to reduce energy prices, say EU science advisers
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24 August 2021: Nature
Could Europe become the first climate-neutral continent?
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24 August 2021: Science|Business
Viewpoint: put people at the centre to provide sustainable energy for all
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18 August 2021: Council of Finnish Academies
SAPEA: Energiamurrosta nopeutettava
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08 August 2021: 15 min
SAPEA: Iki 2050 m. įmanoma pasiekti neutralią anglies dioksido emisiją Skaitykite daugiau
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26 July 2021: Swiss Academy of Sciences
A Systemic Approach to the Energy Transition in Europe
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26 July 2021: Harper Adams University
A Systemic Approach to the Energy Transition in Europe
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26 July 2021: Future World Foundation
A Systemic Approach to the Energy Transition in Europe
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20 July 2021: European Science Media Hub
55% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030: “It’s a Herculean effort”
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11 July 2021: mokslas.it
SAPEA: Iki 2050 m. įmanoma pasiekti neutralią anglies dioksido emisiją
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09 July 2021: Centro de Documentación Europea
Scientific Opinion on a systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe
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07 July 2021: National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Для обговорення оприлюднено звіт SAPEA про перехід до сучасних методів отримання енергії в Європі
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07 July 2021: Academia Europaea Bergen Hub
Urgent action needed to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050
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07 July 2021: KVAB
Voorstelling SAPEA & Interview met Ronnie Belmans
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06 July 2021: Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe
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06 July 2021: ALLEA
A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe
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04 July 2021: MMC
Do ogljične nevtralnosti z večjo uporabo lesa v gradbeništvu?
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04 July 2021: STA
Strokovnjaki za večjo uporabo lesa v gradbeništvu za hitrejši energetski prehod v EU
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02 July 2021: InnoRenew CoE
Z večjo uporabo lesa v gradbeništvu do pospešenega energetskega prehoda v EU
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02 July 2021: Chalmers
Energy transition needs to accelerate urgently
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02 July 2021: European Office of Cyprus
Put people at the heart of energy transition policies, EU chief scientific advisors recommend
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02 July 2021: InnoRenew CoE
Using wood in construction to accelerate the EU’s energy transition
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30 June 2021: Polska Akademia Nauk
Systemowe podejście do transformacji Energetycznej w Europie SAPEA
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30 June 2021: Inernational Institute for Applied System Analysis
Put people at heart of energy transition policies, say EU Chief Scientific Advisors
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30 June 2021: Mirage
Put people at heart of energy transition policies, say EU Chief Scientific Advisors
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30 June 2021: Science Business
Decisive action needed now to achieve energy transition by 2050, EU science advisers say
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30 June 2021: Research Professional
EU must boost green tech investment, say science advisers
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30 June 2021: Politico Europe
Coverage in energy newsletter
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29 June 2021: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
SAPEA - Energy Transition needs to accelerate urgently
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29 June 2021: The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences
Energisystemet i Europa behöver förändras i grunden för att nå klimatmål
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28 June 2021: The Royal Academia Europaea Cardiff Hub
Cardiff maps EU policy landscape for major new energy report
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