The European Physical Society has released a report on European Union (EU) plans for sustainable production of green electricity in the context of today's global energy and climate challenges (see go.nature.com/2blxp9). The report advises Europe to develop a common energy policy that could act as a template for other regions.
It points out that Europe's contribution to global greenhouse-gas emissions is relatively low, so producing electricity without fossil fuels would cut global emissions by a mere 3–4%. Any plans for worldwide green electricity structures would need to address problems such as intermittency and storage, and the need for backup systems and large, high-capacity electrical grids.
The report suggests that energy targets should be scientifically justifiable and adjusted to be more realistic. This would reduce the cost of enforcing the targets through regulation and encourage competition in EU industry. A common policy is needed for implementing those regulations, the report emphasizes.
It also recommends that the public should have access to scientific information on energy issues rather than to simplified plans and projections, and it urges Europe to continue to lead the way in cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.
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Ongena, J., Rossel, C. Physicists' report on EU green electricity. Nature 525, 187 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/525187b