Close this search box.

EU needs to step up domestic climate efforts to deliver on Paris

Brussels 22 April 2016. Today at least 160 countries – and the EU – gather in New York to sign a landmark climate deal with an ambitious target to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. On this occasion, 23 organisations urge EU leaders to ensure that Europe’s largest climate instrument will be made coherent with the Paris agreement. Other key areas where the EU needs to deliver are the EU Emissions Trading System, and emissions from aviation.

Upcoming legislative proposal for Europe’s largest climate instrument

The European Commission is expected to present its proposal for the 2030 Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) before the summer. The ESD sets annual emission targets for each Member State for the transport, buildings, agriculture, small industry and waste sectors.  These sectors account for almost 60% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Today, Carbon Market Watch along with 23 other organisations sent a letter to Commissioners and ministers calling for increased ambition that is consistent with long-term objectives, 5-yearly review and ratchet up mechanisms, starting in 2021 at actual emission levels, and closing the loopholes.

In the pursuit of cost-effective climate action, the EU Member States are pushing for certain flexibilities in the legislation.

“Using hot air from the ETS and other so-called flexibilities undermines real action to decarbonize Europe’s economy. The oversupply of EU ETS allowances must instead be addressed in the context of the ongoing reform of Europe’s carbon market,” warns Femke de Jong, EU Policy Director at Carbon Market Watch.

The EU’s carbon market under review

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is the largest carbon market in the world and one of the cornerstones of Europe’s climate policies. It covers about 40 percent of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, the pace of emission reductions in the EU ETS is too slow to achieve Europe’s 2050 objective of 80-95% emission cuts.

“The current proposals for the EU’s carbon market are not aligned with keeping global temperature rise to below 2°C.  This means that the EU is set to emit 2 billion tonnes more CO2 than is stated in its pledge to the Paris Agreement, signed in New York today,” says Femke de Jong.

A second problem with the EU ETS is the large amount of surplus carbon permits. Ever since its inception over ten years ago, targets were set above business-as-usual emissions, resulting in a large amount of ‘hot air’ which is set to reach over 3 billion CO2 equivalents by 2020.

Emissions from aviation

Originally the scope of aviation in the EU ETS was meant to cover emissions from flights within as well as to and from the European Economic Area (EEA).

The scope was reduced pending a global solution at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this year. For now, the EU ETS only covers flights within the EEA.

It is vitally important that the EU maintains regional ambition and joins together with other countries to establish an effective global market-based mechanism to address international aviation emissions.

“Currently, a large amount of emissions is left uncovered, leaving regional and national policies to pick up the slack. Increased ambition on the EU level to reduce emissions from the aviation sector is vital if Europe wants to reach its own target of at least 40 percent less emissions by 2030,” comments Kelsey Perlman, Aviation Policy Researcher at Carbon Market Watch.


Media contacts:

Femke de Jong, EU Policy Director

[email protected]

+32 4 897 726 37

Andrew Coiley, Communications Manager

[email protected]

+32 4 836 550 78

Kelsey Perlman, Aviation Policy Researcher

[email protected]

+32 4 937 629 90

Notes to editor:

  • Letter to ensure that the 2030 Effort Sharing Decision, the EU’s largest climate instrument, is fit for purpose
  • Policy Brief: Four magic potions to turn the EU ETS into an effective climate mitigation tool
  • Reducing Aviation Emissions here
  • Analysis: The impact of the Paris agreement on the EU’s climate policies



Related posts

Not banking on carbon markets

The banking sector’s anticipated upswing in investment in the voluntary carbon market has failed to materialise, new research reveals.

Join our mailing list

Stay in touch and receive our monthly newsletter, campaign updates, event invites and more.