Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the EU

You remember last year's Paris Agreement on Climate Change? Lots of words and declarations on how we will save the planet? Well, now these are the hard commitments the EU made back then.

How did we get here?

Actually, the story is pretty sad. In 2014, the EU decided on some super-ambitious goals for saving the world from climate change - more specifically: 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2030 compared to 2005. Plus, remember last year around Christmas? That's right...that was when the EU signed the Paris Agreement and made big promises to keep the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celcius. And more numbers are coming: the EU wanted to keep this promise by reducing GHG emissions by 80-95% in 2050 (compared to 1990). Now everyone is realizing that this is just not going to work out. The solution: new, more specific GHG reduction targets for all EU Members States.


Why is this important for me?

We hope it's obvious, e.g. by keeping the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celcius we can continue to travel to low-laying countries like Holland with no floods due to melting glaciers :). But seriously: these new rules could also push industry into investing more money in renewable energies and you might be able to finance some solar panels on your roof or get your energy-efficient refurbishment of your old appartment paid for. It will be up to the EU Member States to come up with strategies on how to achieve the targets.


What's the content?

The Commission's proposal is covering the following aspects:

1. Minimum contributions of Member States to emissions reduction in the transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, land-use and forestry sectors (with richer countries being asked for a little more effort: e.g. Bulgaria does not have to reduce any GHG emissions compared with 2005 levels whereas Germany or Luxemburg have to reduce levels by 38 and 40%);

2. Nitty-gritty rules on flexibility mechanisms: basically ways for the Member States to calculate their contributions and use different - already existing EU schemes (e.g. the infamous EU Emissions Trading System) - to get credit for their efforts.

As always for our climate nerds and super-interested readers: The Fact-Sheet - lovingly compiled by DG CLIMA in the EU Commission.


What's happening with this legislation in the future?

In the European Parliament the Environment Committee is currently dealing with this piece of legislation. The draft report was publsihed in early 2017, the vote in plenary is scheduled for July. At the same time, environment ministers are also working on this issue in the Council.


Related Bills:

Tightened rules for safer and cleaner cars

Reducing pollutant emissions from cars

Circular Economy: Reducing waste in Europe


Pic: Fog Factory by Jonathan Kos-Read, taken 3 December 2012, licensed under CC BY 2.0

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