The European Union has this week formally adopted Member States’ annual greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2021 to 2030 which, though they differ by country, will deliver a 30% reduction in EU emissions on 2005 levels across a wide variety of industries.
The European Council, the governing body that consists of heads of state or government of the 28 European Union Member States, announced on Monday its Effort Sharing Regulation, binding annual greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for Member States from 2021 to 2030. The European Commission first proposed its effort sharing proposal in July of 2016, and since then discussions have been ongoing — including at three Environment Council meetings. A general approach was considered in October of 2017, and a provisional agreement formed in December, which was then endorsed in January of 2018.
The Council formally adopted the Effort Sharing Regulation this week, which sets targets for all sectors of the EU economy that sit outside the scope of the existing EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) — including transport, buildings, agriculture, non-ETS industry, and waste, which together account for almost 60% of the EU’s total domestic emissions.
The national targets enshrined in the new Effort Sharing Regulation range from 0% to -40% (on 2005 levels) and, collectively, are aimed at delivering emissions cuts across the EU of 30%.
“We all agree on the need to tackle climate change,” said Neno Dimov, Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water. “Today’s decision provides us with a further tool in our armoury to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. Protecting the environment and the health of Europe’s citizens is one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency.”
Unsurprisingly, the basic framework of the new Effort Sharing Regulation is similar in design to the system that was in place for the period 2013 to 2020, but two new flexibilities have been implemented which are intended to allow Member States to use emission allowances under the EU ETS and credits from the land use sector and put them towards achieving their Effort Sharing targets. These flexibilities also vary per country.
The Effort Sharing targets vary according to the different capacities and abilities of Member States to take action, and also what has been accomplished already. Higher-income Member States are taking on more ambitious targets than lower-income Member States, and targets are adjusted to reflect cost-effectiveness for those Member States with an above average GDP per capita.
The full list of Member States emission reduction targets can be viewed here.