EU leaders agreed in December 2020 on a climate goal of “at least” 55% net emission reductions by 2030 (compared to a 1990 baseline). While this is a stricter target than before, it is still far too low according to the science.
Setting a new European-wide target implies that every country will need to increase its efforts to reduce emissions. But in recent plans the European Commission leaves the door open to relieving Member States of their climate obligations.
Leaders have upped the EU’s emissions target, but are they willing to do their fair share at national level, and strengthen the regulation on national targets (the ESR), instead of scrapping it?
If this change goes ahead, you can expect slower uptake of low-emission transport, less support for building renovation and less action to create low emission zones and liveable green cities in your country.
This is because watering down the regulations and phasing out national targets would mean governments were no longer responsible for driving down emissions in their own countries, which would in turn remove incentives for national climate action.
Currently, the EU’s climate action is governed under three main pillars:
the European-wide Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), a carbon pricing instrument, for large industries and the power sector, which are collectively responsible for 40% of the EU’s emissions.
the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) consisting of national targets for all emissions from road transport, buildings, waste, agriculture and small industry. These sectors account for 60% of the EU’s emissions.
The Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation, which sets national targets and accounting rules for emissions from (and removals by) soils, wetlands, forests etc.
There are a number of other pieces of EU legislation that are crucial to the achievement of the targets, including on energy efficiency, renewable energy and emissions standards for vehicles.
We've created a petition that will allow you to quickly and easily participate in a public consultation on EU climate regulations. By taking part you are directly asking the European Commission for a strong law to speed up national climate action. The consultation is open until the 5 of February 2021.
National targets have driven the design of national and European climate policies over the years. These targets are legally binding, meaning that Member States failing to reach their emission reduction objective are subject to an infringement procedure.
At national level, binding national targets have driven smart policies, such as reducing fossil fuel subsidies and company car taxation exemptions, financing building renovation, and supporting the deployment of charging stations. National targets have boosted climate investment, innovation and clean infrastructure. At the European level, these binding national targets have pushed Member States to support effective climate action at EU level, such as CO2 standards for vehicles, as these help them achieve their national targets.
The European Commission is assessing how to revise EU climate laws to reflect the new goal. All citizens, organisations and experts are welcome to contribute to this process in the form of responses to public consultations. This is our chance to secure climate action and better living for all.
Unfortunately, the EU is considering scrapping or weakening the law that sets national climate targets and regulates 60% of EU emissions: the ‘Effort Sharing Regulation’. Without stronger national targets there is little incentive for governments to act quickly on climate change by, for example, taxing new polluting vehicles and ending subsidies for diesel and petrol company cars, launching massive building renovation programmes, supporting public transport, and so on.
By June 2021, the Commission will present a package of proposed revisions to the EU’s climate and energy legislation. The Commission will take the responses to its public consultations into account when developing its proposals. It will also base them on further guidance that EU heads of state and government will give in the spring.
The proposals will then be in the hands of Member States and the European Parliament, as they undertake negotiations on the legislation. A final decision on the revisions is not expected this year and possibly not before the end of 2022.
A new study clearly shows that natinal climate targets are important drivers to deliver energy savings (Source: ENDS Europe) - Keeping emissions sharing rules could boost energy efficiency
Each country can do more and should do its fair share of climate action. Ellen Valkenborgs from T&E explains why. (Source: PlanUp.eu)
UN global climate poll: ‘The people’s voice is clear – they want action’ (Source: The Guardian) - The survey shows people across the world support climate action and gives politicians a clear mandate to take the major action needed
Renewables overtook fossil fuels as EU’s main power source in 2020 (Source: Euractiv) - "Rapid growth in wind and solar has forced coal into decline, but this is just the beginning."
Targets, not markets! (Source: Carbon Market Watch) - Why carbon pricing should strengthen, not replace national climate action
Climate crisis: 2020 was the joint hottest year ever recorded (Source: The Guardinan) - Why is it urgent that every country acts now.
> You can help by signing the petition.
EU leaders agreed in December 2020 on an enhanced climate goal of “at least” a 55% cut in net emissions by 2030. (Source: Transport&Environment) - EU leaders’ landmark climate goal could be undone by gutting of national targets
Weak EU climate deal snubs the science (Source: WWF) - A 55% ‘net’ target means actual emissions reduction of only 50.5 - 52.8%
The EU legislation needs to look beyond the new 2030 climate target. (Source: CAN-Europe) - European lawmakers will need to substantially upgrade the EU’s climate and energy legislation to ensure that member states will collectively slash emissions well beyond 55% by 2030