Local governments profile EU legislation to reach 2030 climate targets  
Local governments profile EU legislation to reach 2030 climate targets

As the EU is engaged in setting up binding targets for reducing CO2 emissions in key sectors such as buildings, small industry, transport, agriculture, waste and forestry, the EU's assembly of local and regional representatives warns: no success is guaranteed without the active and formal involvement of cities and regions. Local and regional authorities hold competencies in key areas such as urban planning, forest and waste management, buildings, agriculture and land use, sectors covered by legislation under discussion: the Effort-Sharing Regulation (ESR) and the land use, land use-change and forestry (LULUCF) Regulation. New legislation is to complement existing provisions under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which covers industry and the power sectors only, accounting for 45% of the total of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. In 2013, ESR and LULUCF accounted for 55% greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.

Upon request of the European Commission, the European Committee of the Regions has adopted a set of concrete recommendations on the legislative proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the sectors covered by the Effort-Sharing Regulation (ESR) and the land use, land use-change and forestry (LULUCF) Regulation. These sectors include buildings, small industry, agriculture, waste and transport (except aviation and international maritime shipping), in addition to forestry and agriculture, including use of soils trees, plants, biomass and timber. Upcoming regulation is therefore to focus on sectors other than the bigger polluters and the ETS actors, which have been at the core of the legislation to date.

Juri Gotmans (EE/PES) , Mayor of Haanja Municipality (Estonia) is the rapporteur of the opinion on 'Legislative proposals for an Effort-Sharing Regulation and a Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation (LULUCF) '. Gotmans declared: "We welcome the European Commission's proposals to set CO2 emissions reduction targets for sectors other than industrial and power sectors which are already covered by ETS. Yet we can't expect reaching our energy and climate objectives and comply with the Paris agreement if we do not set up binding targets in sectors such as buildings, agriculture, transport or forestry as these can account up to 55% of the of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU".

Juri Gotmans added "to achieve our objectives, the European Commission and the EU Member States have to systematically support local and regional authorities by boosting the capacities in conceiving and planning local development in the energy sector, transport, waste management, agriculture and land use". "We need to take into account regional and local factors when it comes to determining flexibility rules in both the Effort Sharing and LULUCF proposals" added Gotmans. Cities and regions are also the main source in collecting, directly or indirectly, the data needed to establish the greenhouse gas emissions inventory in sectors covered by the LULUCF and Effort Sharing Regulations, recalls the Mayor of Haanja.

The CoR calls for the introduction of interim compliance checks every five years with controlled, anti-carbon leakage flexibilities as an effective way to ensure that emission reduction targets are being met.

Local leaders also want access to the necessary financial instruments aimed at reaching the objectives of the legislation under-discussion and further involvement for decision-making to be accurate to local know-how and expertise.

The proposals set out a binding commitment for each Member State and the accounting rules to determine compliance. The Commission's proposal simplifies the current accounting methodology under the Kyoto Protocol, and establishes a new EU governance process for monitoring how Member States calculate emissions and removals from actions in the specified sectors.

Background:

The EU has set targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in the medium to long term. The objective for 2050, agreed by the European Council in 2009, is an 80-95% reduction in GHG emissions compared to 1990. In the short to medium term, the EU aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, and by at least 40% by 2030. The 2030 reduction goal was set in October 2014 by the Heads of State and Government of the EU. The Committee of the regions has consistently called for a more ambitious target of 50% CO2 reduction by 2030.

The EU is currently in the process of reviewing and updating most of its climate-related legislation to bring it into line with the 2030 targets. The process started in July 2015 with a proposal to reform the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). According to the proposal to amend the ETS Regulation, the industrial and power sectors falling within the scope of this instrument will need to reduce their emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2005. The ETS sector currently accounts for some 45% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. The ESR and LULUCF Regulations account for the other 55%.

After ETS reform, the process goes on with the European Commission legislative proposals for an Effort Sharing Regulation and a LULUCF Regulation.

On 20 July 2016 the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to integrate greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use-change and forestry (LULUCF) into the 2030 climate and energy framework . The proposal follows the agreement with EU leaders in October 2014 that all sectors should contribute to the EU's 2030 emission reduction target, including the land use sector. It is also in line with the Paris Agreement, which points out to the critical role of the land use sector in reaching our long-term climate mitigation objectives. More information.

The Effort Sharing Decision establishes binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States for the period 2013–2020. These targets concern emissions from most sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading System ( EU ETS ), such as transport, buildings, agriculture and waste. The Effort Sharing Decision forms part of a set of policies and measures on climate change and energy – known as the climate and energy package - that will help move Europe towards a low-carbon economy and increase its energy security. More information.

Contact:
David Crous
Tel. +32 (0)470 88 10 37
david.crous@cor.europa.eu