The Potential Role of Gas in Decarbonizing Europe: A Quantitative Assessment
This chapter analyses a set of new scenarios for energy markets in Europe to evaluate the role of natural gas across a range of assumptions on climate policy (including the post-Copenhagen Pledges and the EU Roadmap ). The goal is to identify whether current trend and policies are leading to an economically efficient and, at the same time, climate-friendly energy mix in Europe. Economic costs and environmental objectives are balanced to identify the welfare-maximizing development path, the related investment strategies in the energy sector and the resulting optimal energy mix. Our results show that a suitable and sustained carbon price is necessary to move energy markets in Europe closer to the optimal energy mix. An appropriate carbon pricing is also sufficient to achieve both the emission target and the renewable target. Policy costs are limited if climate policy is not too ambitious and/or it is internationally coordinated. Finally, our results show that natural gas is the key transitional fuel within the cost-effective achievement of a range of climate policy targets.
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