In general, the global commitment towards a more sustainable future energy supply portfolio yields several technical, economical and political new challenges. In this context, fundamental contributions are expected from renewable energy sources (RES) and from an increased mobilisation of energy efficiency/saving potentials, globally as well as at European level. At European level, the EU has committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 in the context of necessary reductions by developed countries. As part of the European approach the European Council and Parliament has published in 2009 Directive 2009/28/EC on the support for renewable energies. This Directive established binding national targets for renewable energy to end up with a share of 20% stemming from renewable energy sources (RES) on Europe’s energy consumption by 2020. Complementary to this, a new energy efficiency directive is on the way to awake the other currently still sleeping giant. And also in the long run RES and energy efficiency/savings are expected to take over a significant share under GHG emission reduction pathways. This view was confirmed recently by the European Commission in their European energy roadmap 2050 (COM(2011)885). The RES uptake has already experienced a significant boom over the last decade but this trend needs to be prolonged and strengthened to succeed in realising a sustainable low-carbon economy.
Other options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in energy supply are nuclear energy and a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) of fossil energy carriers. While possibilities and prospects for CCS remain uncertain, nuclear energy has deserved strong attention in the public debate. The Fukushima accident in 2011 has intensified criticism and triggered fears related to nuclear safety.
Global 2000 (Friends of the Earth Austria) is currently in preparation for starting the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “my voice against nuclear” for phasing out nuclear power plants in Europe. At the same time this will become the first Citizen Initiative for safe and clean energy in Europe. Thus, presenting solutions and improving the political framework for renewable energy, energy efficiency and accompanying beneficial and / or necessary innovations in the energy sector is an important part of the initiative. In order to strengthen the demands of the ECI, GLOBAL 2000 will commission a study about a nuclear free future for Europe, discussing requirements, prospects and implications of this energy challenge.