In the Vision for Smart CO2 Transformation in Europe, we set out a long-term Vision for CO2 utilisation and put forward why Europe should make it a priority to accelerate its development.
By 2050, Europe needs to have drastically decoupled its economic growth from its emissions of carbon dioxide. This is a direct response to the compelling evidence from the increasing risks of climate change brought about by the anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases, and carbon dioxide in particular. Moving from energy systems that are primarily reliant on fossil fuels to those which use greater amounts of lower-carbon energy sources is a broadly accepted policy choice of member states, although the exact technology choices and the speed of the transition vary.
Scientific and industrial progress has enabled us to imagine a future in which carbon dioxide becomes an increasingly important resource; a world in which we utilise CO2 to create products. By accelerating development in the area of CO2 utilisation Europe can improve its industrial competitiveness whilst reducing its impact on the planet. However, for this to happen, there needs to be a clearer long-term strategy which itself depends on a stable long-term research and industrial policy framework. CO2 utilisation also provides a route for Europe to realise its ambition to move to a circular economy. Support for the circular economy comes from a high level, as evidenced by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans statement on the 15th of July 2015:
"Europe should be a frontrunner on the circular economy. I believe passionately in this because the future of the European economy is not in competing on low wages; the future of the European economy is not in competing on wasting finite resources. The future of the European economy is in the circular economy, in reusing, in putting things back into the economic cycle. This means rethinking the way we design, produce, consume and dispose of products."