Europe’s current energy system is confronted with a number of uncertainties: unpredictable and highly volatile fossil fuel prices and the resulting economic challenges, geopolitical risks related to import dependency, and the harmful environmental consequences of fossil fuel based energy generation. However, what remains certain, is that if we continue on the energy pathway of the last few decades, climate change will have a more and more unpredictable and disastrous impact on our lives, our energy import dependency will rise, and fossil fuels will become scarcer and concentrated in a few countries around the world.
Inertia is not a solution in the face of these challenges. The answer to these challenges is not beyond our reach, the solution, in fact, lays in our hands and with it our ability to change the future. By switching from fossil fuel, greenhouse gas intensive sources of energy to renewable sources of energy, Europe is able to fully grasp its sustainable potential - in economic, ecologic and social terms.
Significantly increasing energy efficiency and deploying renewable energy technologies is the most promising effort we can make to mitigate man-made climate change and reduce hazardous pollution, enhance local and regional energy independence, stimulate world-class high-tech industries and create thousands of new jobs, not least in rural and remote areas.
Today's energy decisions will shape Europe's supply system for at least the next 50 years, thereby determining the future level of greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel dependency and the competitiveness of European economies. In view of the fundamental transformation needed to ensure a sustainable Europe by the middle of the 21st century, a fundamental structural change is needed. As investments in the energy sector are of long-term nature, the decisions we take today will have an impact on the energy system of tomorrow.
For all these reasons, Europe must prepare the ground for a 100% renewable energy future, starting today. RE-thinking 2050 outlines a pathway towards a 100% renewable energy supply system by 2050 and clearly shows that it is not a matter of technology, but rather a matter of making the right choices today to influence tomorrow. The challenge ahead of us is huge, but we have no choice if we want to act responsibly towards future generations. “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors: we borrow it from our children”.
Prof. Arthouros Zervos