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Media advisory: Loopholes in key climate law put EU’s emissions reduction target at risk

BRUSSELS 24 January 2017. Rather than reducing emissions by 30% from transport, agriculture, buildings and waste sectors, the EU could be heading towards only 23% cut by 2030. Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment launch an online tool to help calculate the impact on climate goals of ‘flexibilities’ in one of the bloc’s key climate laws.

EU member states have agreed to reduce emissions from the agriculture, transport, buildings and waste sectors by 30% by 2030. The so-called Effort Sharing Regulation sets national targets for each member state.

Different countries are pushing for flexibilities in the law, such as using surplus pollution permits from the EU’s carbon market or credits from forestry to compensate for emissions in other sectors. These flexibilities could become loopholes that put the whole target at risk.

The online tool allows one to calculate the impact of each proposed flexibility on the EU target as a whole and on individual countries.

For example, Ireland has a national target of 30% reductions. If the country makes use of all available flexibilities, in reality it will only need to cut emissions by 1%.

Femke De Jong, EU Policy Director at Carbon Market Watch, said:

“It is completely unacceptable, that the EU’s largest climate tool would allow some countries to stall efforts to cut emissions, or even increase their pollution – especially after another year of record-breaking temperatures. The law has great potential to bring multiple benefits to citizens in the form of cleaner cities and more comfortable homes, and we call on the decision makers to make these a reality by closing the loopholes in it.”

Cristina Mestre, Climate & Biofuels officer at T&E, said:

The EU has  a unique opportunity to prove its commitment to becoming a climate champion. But as this calculator shows, that commitment could easily turn into business as usual in sectors like transport and agriculture, and countries could fall well short of the emissions cuts that are needed. We need to ensure that the EU’s biggest tool to combat climate change lives up its billing.”

EU member states and the European Parliament are currently forming their respective positions on the proposed law. Negotiations are set to conclude in late 2017.


Media contacts:

Femke de Jong, EU Policy Director

[email protected]

+32 489 77 26 37

Kaisa Amaral, Press Officer

[email protected]

+32 485 07 68 90

Cristina Mestre, Climate and Biofuels Officer

[email protected]

+32 488 79 74 39

Eoin Bannon, Communications Officer

[email protected]

+32 2 851 02 07

Notes to editor

The Effort Sharing Emissions Calculator will be launched at an event, Effort Sharing Regulation in numbers – low-carbon opportunities in non-ETS sectors, at the European Parliament on 25 January.

The tool is available at

Policy Brief: The 2030 Effort Sharing Regulation

Joint media advisory by Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment


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