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Briefing: Is European cleantech on track for net zero?

16 November 2023

In analysing data associated with ECNO’s three enablers for cleantech, as well as supporting data points, this briefing examines the current state of EU cleantech from lab to market.

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Overall the EU is moving in the right direction, but progress has been too slow to realise a climate neutral future by 2050 

As the EU finalises and adopts legislation to implement the European Green Deal, ECNO's analysis across 13 building blocks reveals strengths and weaknesses in the EU’s progress towards climate neutrality.

View finding of the latest ECNO Progress Report
ECNO main results

 

ECNO's 13 building blocks

ECNO looks at 13 building blocks of a climate neutral future

The assessment of progress considers the key objectives and enabling conditions for change needed in each building block. This approach is designed to accompany the overarching nature of the European Green Deal and the EU's headline climate neutrality target, which touches all aspects of the economy and society.

Explore Building Blocks
Wind turbines

ECNO applies a robust indicator framework to understand real-world change on the road to climate neutrality

Progress is assessed across a comprehensive set of 104 indicators, covering all areas of European society and economy. Indicators are selected to target on-the-ground change by measuring the enabling conditions for emission reductions, not only key headline trends.

More on Methodology
ECNO's Indicator framework

Building Blocks

Thirteen economic sectors and cross-cutting areas where transformation is needed to reach a climate neutral society by 2050

On track
Too slow
Far too slow
Wrong direction
Insufficient data
CROSS-CUTTING AREA
House with green roof
Adaptation-White
Adaptation
Far too slow
Adapting to climate impacts will require a wide range of adaptation responses across sectors and governance levels. To track progress, the element ass...
Indicators
CROSS-CUTTING AREA
Lifestyles
Lifestyles
Lifestyles
Far too slow

The transition of lifestyles towards more sustainable behaviour patterns and social practices is a meaningful driver of decarbonisation.

Indicators
CROSS-CUTTING AREA
Technology
tech icon
Clean Technologies
Too slow
Developing new and improving existing technologies while ensuring manufacturing capacity to deploy them at scale is critical to enable the transition ...
Indicators
ECONOMIC SECTOR
Mobility
Mobility-White
Mobility
Far too slow
Mobility is essential for connecting people and sustaining economies. For a transformative shift in the transport sector, reducing motorized transport...
Indicators
CROSS-CUTTING AREA
People walking
Transition icon
Just and Inclusive Transition
Too slow
A just and inclusive transition means that the timely shift towards a climate neutral economy will not come at the cost of vulnerable regions and soci...
Indicators
CROSS-CUTTING AREA
Flags
International-White
External Action
Far too slow
To support global climate neutrality, the EU must consider the extraterritorial impacts of its actions, engage in climate diplomacy, and support other...
Indicators
ECONOMIC SECTOR
Industry
industry icon
Industry
Far too slow
Industry is an indispensable element of the EU economy. However, the sector is facing complex decarbonisation challenges requiring a shift in the mix ...
Indicators
CROSS-CUTTING AREA
Governance
Governance
Governance
On track
Governance refers to the tools used by governments to align short-term actions with a climate neutral future, ensure a sound evidence-base for decisio...
Indicators
ECONOMIC SECTOR
Sky
CHG Removal-White
Carbon Dioxide Removal
Wrong direction
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) will be crucial to achieve climate neutrality by compensating for minimal residual emissions that cannot be avoided. Curr...
Indicators
CROSS-CUTTING AREA
Finance-White
Finance-White
Finance
Wrong direction
Redirecting financial flows towards clean products and services is essential to put the EU on track to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This includ...
Indicators
ECONOMIC SECTOR
Energy supply
energy icon
Electricity
Too slow
Electricity plays a central role in decarbonising energy supply and its importance will only increase over time through sector coupling (the electrifi...
Indicators
ECONOMIC SECTOR
Building
building icon
Buildings
Far too slow
Buildings covers the main stages of the buildings cycle, from materials production to energy demand for various end-uses: heating, cooling, cooking, l...
Indicators
ECONOMIC SECTOR
Tractor
agrifood icon
Agrifood
Far too slow
The agrifood building block refers to all stages of the agricultural supply chain from food production to consumption, including food processing, reta...
Indicators

Within each building block, we define objectives and enablers. 

Objectives outline what the building block must achieve to support the overall climate neutrality goal, while enablers are the supporting conditions needed to meet the objectives in each building block. Enablers reflect on the drivers of and barriers to decarbonisation and, as such, can provide an early sense of progress – or lack thereof.