Objectives of the rapporteur: the chief objective of this opinion is to provide a balanced report that would add value to the role played by the local and regional authorities and that would push for an important commitment of all the players (possibly higher than the current proposal).
Objectives of the ENVE Commission: The opinion would be asking for green development avoiding to penalize the European industry but stimulating innovation.
In 2016, this opinion had limited impact mainly due to the fact that the legislative process on this file has not yet finished. EP ENVI Committee adopted its report only on 15/12/2016. CoR policy recommendations that were taken into consideration by the European Commission and the European Parliament during the legislative process are as follows:
Essential policy recommendations of the opinion
• stresses the importance of involving local and regional authorities in this area since they have considerable expertise thanks to their frontline role in combating climate change as they are, by their very nature, the authorities closest to the public and the first to manage the response to environmental emergencies;
Essential legislative amendments of the opinion
• The Paris Agreement reached during COP21 requires an effort to be made by all of the parties to that agreement to ensure that it is ratified and implemented quickly and in a more ambitious way. Greater emphasis should thus be placed on all initiatives, including at local and regional levels, which can contribute to achieving the targets set for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A tool for monitoring environmental policies and sharing best practices and projects implemented at regional and local levels (e.g. linked to the Covenant of Mayors) could help to further subsidiarity and ensure that all tiers of government shoulder their responsibilities.
The Commission acknowledges that the risk of carbon leakage currently remains for some industries, but also that these provisions (57% share of allowance to be auctioned) will be kept under review in the coming decade.
The Commission acknowledges that the low-carbon transtition should be mainstreamed through all sectors and levels of governance. Therefore, work at city level and urban policies will be further intensified, including on supporting actions developed by the Covenant of mayors and the setting up of a "One stop shop" (further elaborated on and described by Vice-President Sefcovic's Cabinet at the December ENVE meeting) for local authorities. This should allow local authorities to more effectively contribute to the EU's low-carbon transition.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS:
- stresses the importance of involving local and regional authorities in this area since they have considerable expertise thanks to their frontline role in combating climate change as they are, by their very nature, the authorities closest to the public and the first to manage the response to environmental emergencies;
- recommends that each Member State set a minimum percentage threshold of at least 20% of auction revenues to be managed directly by the local and regional authorities. It should also be possible to use revenues from emissions trading in the Member States to prevent local and regional climate risks and protect against and adapt to the effects of climate change;
- calls for the Modernisation Fund to be open to NUTS 2 regions in Member States with clear internal imbalances, in order to boost the revitalisation and modernisation of the energy sector;
- welcomes the outcome of COP21 as regards the common will to work together towards an ambitious goal, and endorses the decision to have five-yearly reviews of the various targets, so that they are always adequate; underlines, however, that the opportunity was missed to address the risk of carbon leakage at global level and provide responses;
- considers that the Paris Agreement reached during COP21 requires an effort to be made by all of the parties to that agreement to ensure that it is ratified and implemented quickly and in a more ambitious way. Greater emphasis should be placed on all initiatives or campaigns, including those of the local and regional level or geared towards it, which can contribute to achieving the targets set for cutting greenhouse gas emissions;
recognises the Europe 2020 goals as priorities and argues that they are certainly compatible with the objective of preserving a strong, competitive and state-of-the-art European industry, for which rules are not perceived as a punitive mechanism, but as incentives for greater efficiency and modernisation. It therefore asks the European Commission to reflect also on the concept of the "carbon footprint" of products and to consider how to promote more sustainable consumption.