The EU has the strongest climate law in the world. But it's not enough.
Earlier this year, tremendous floods in Pakistan forced 600,000 pregnant women to leave their homes for safer ground. It was among the latest in a series of nearly unthinkable happenings caused by climate change."Can you imagine if you are about to give birth to a child, and you have to leave your home and flee? These are very traumatic experiences that people have now in all continents, and increasing frequency," says NNTU Professor Edgar Hertwich. He says we all know now that climate change is no longer an abstraction — it's here, and humankind has to act.
Hertwich — one of the top 100 climate researchers on the planet — is in a unique position to push the international agenda: he's one of just 15 members on the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, which is advising the EU on implementing its new climate law. That matters because the EU is the largest political entity in the world to commit to such ambitious goals.
The 27 nations in the EU have committed to cutting their carbon emissions by at least 55% in just 8 years — by 2030. By 2050, the EU law commits its member nations to a net-zero emissions balance — meaning that they will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as much as they can and find ways of compensating for the remaining and unavoidable emissions so that the net emissions are zero.
This is an aggressive plan, Hertwich says, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. And he's been vocal in telling EU leaders just that. Listen to what he had to say to a recent EU Strategy Summit on Climate in Brussels, hosted by NTNU and SINTEF, Scandinavia's largest independent research institution.
You can read a collection of popular science articles about Professor Hertwich's research here.
Here's a selection of his recent academic publications:
- Berrill, Peter; Wilson, Eric J.H.; Janet L., Reyna; Antyony D., Fontanini; Hertwich, Edgar G.. (2022) Decarbonization pathways for the residential sector in the United States. Nature Climate Change. vol. 12.
- Carattini, Stefano; Hertwich, Edgar G.; Melkadze, Givi; Shrader, Jeffrey G.. (2022) Mandatory disclosure is key to address climate risks. Science. vol. 378 (6618)
- Huang, Yuqiao; Wolfram, Paul; Miller, Reed; Azarijafari, Hessam; Guo, Fengdi; An, Kangxin; Li, Jin; Hertwich, Edgar G.; Gregory, Jeremy; Wang, Can. (2022) Mitigating life cycle GHG emissions of roads to be built through 2030: Case study of a Chinese province. Journal of Environmental Management. vol. 319.
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