An energy mix based on fossil fuels cannot deliver sustainable economic growth for future generations, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday as she sought to add impetus to the decarbonisation of Europe’s economy.
Von der Leyen was speaking at a European Parliament-hosted event in Brussels entitled “Beyond Growth” whose main theme was how to reconcile economic development with environmental goals.
“A growth model centred on fossil fuels is simply obsolete,” von der Leyen said, adding the goal of the EU’s Green Deal energy transition was to create “a different growth model that is sustainable far into the future”.
The 27-member EU has a target to to cut net emissions by 55% by 2030 as a step towards a “net zero” goal by 2050, setting it at the forefront of global efforts to decarbonise the economy.
It is pushing a plan to add a legally binding 2040 milestone to ensure the 2050 target is achieved.
Von der Leyen and other speakers at the conference hailed the insights of the 1972 “Limits To Growth” report which set out the findings of a computer simulation by MIT scientists of a world destabilised by growing material consumption.
Controversial from the start, that simulation was attacked as flawed by some and applauded by others as prescient in its prediction of accelerating planetary stress.