Close this search box.

Just three EU countries step up to the plate for Paris climate deal – ranking

BRUSSELS 28 March 2017. Only three countries in Europe are on the right track to deliver on the Paris climate agreement, a new ranking published today reveals. The EU Climate Leader Board looks at the position of each European government towards the EU’s largest climate law, the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR). Sweden tops the list, followed by Germany and France. At the other end Poland, Italy, Spain and Czech Republic push to weaken the Commission proposal, countering Europe’s efforts to comply with the Paris agreement.

Covering 60% of the Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions, the law sets binding national emission reduction targets for the 2021-2030 period for sectors not covered in the emissions trading system, namely: transport, buildings, agriculture and waste. Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment’s new climate leaderboard allows citizens to hold their governments accountable for the positions they take on the EU’s largest climate tool to implement the Paris Agreement.

Femke de Jong, EU policy director, Carbon Market Watch, said:

“EU politicians portraying themselves as climate leaders should put their money where their mouth is by closing loopholes in the EU’s key climate law and pushing for more ambition. Only with determined climate action will lawmakers ensure that European citizens can enjoy the significant benefits of a decarbonised society, such as clean air.”

Many countries are proposing to make the ESR a big emissions accounting game by starting from a misleading baseline, abusing forestry credits or exploiting the emission trading system’s huge surplus.

Carlos Calvo Ambel, transport and energy analyst, Transport & Environment, said:

“This is the most important climate law that will enable Europe to deliver on the Paris agreement. But the great majority of countries want to rig the law with loopholes so they can continue business as usual. Either Europe follows the lead of Sweden, Germany and France, which are going in the right direction though not far enough, or we should forget about our climate leadership.”

An analysis accompanying the ranking proposes solutions for making each country’s position more effective and compatible with the Paris agreement.

The ranking consists of a system of points based on the different elements of the proposal, which are weighted against their importance. The countries’ positions come from public documents, declarations by ministers and also papers submitted to the Working Party on Environment.

The EU member states are currently negotiating their joint position on the Effort Sharing Regulation. Once they have reached an agreement, they will start talks with the European Parliament. The final law is expected to be adopted by the end of 2017.


Media contacts:

Femke de Jong, EU Policy Director
[email protected]
+32 4 897 726 37

Carlos Calvo Ambel, Transport and Energy Analyst
[email protected]
+32 (0)2 851 02 13

Kaisa Amaral, Press Officer
[email protected]
+32 4 85 07 68 90

Eoin Bannon, Media Manager
[email protected]
+32 (0)2 851 02 07

Notes to editors:

Highlights from the ranking include:

  • Sweden with 67 points (out of a total of 100 points) is the climate leader among the EU countries. The country has a domestic 2030 target that is significantly higher than the target set under the Effort Sharing Regulation. It has also announced that it will not use allowances from the EU’s emissions trading system to cover emissions from the non-traded sectors.
  • Ireland, which according to our recent calculations would only need to cut emissions by 1% up to 2030 due to various loopholes in the law, scores 13 points in the ranking and is in 18th place. Ireland aims to further weaken the current proposal in order to stall the country’s emission reductions for another decade.
  • Italy scores 9 points sharing the 20th place with six other countries. Italy advocates for larger access to credits from land use and forestry and a starting point that would weaken the law.
  • With 2 points, Poland finds itself at the bottom of the list. The country advocates for a starting point that is significantly above actual emissions so that countries don’t have to make any efforts to cut emissions in the period up to 2030. Poland also thinks its 2030 target should be reduced.

How to become the EU’s climate leader – key recommendations:

  • Support a higher 2030 climate target and an ambitious 2050 objective to reach the goals of the Paris agreement.
  • Advocate for a starting point that reflects actual emissions and does not reward countries for underachieving.
  • Call for the removal of the land-use loophole that allows countries to use non-permanent forestry credits to allow more greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.
  • Call for the removal of the ETS (emissions trading system) surplus loophole that undermines climate action in the non-traded sectors.
  • Promote a better governance system including yearly compliance, rather than every five years, and checks and financial penalties in the case of non-compliance.

In a few weeks, the NGO Fern will publish another ranking analysing countries’ positions on a related piece of legislation, the land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) regulation.


Policy brief and infographic: EU Climate Leader Board – Where countries stand on the Effort Sharing Regulation – Europe’s largest climate tool
Effort Sharing Emissions Calculator
Policy brief: The 2030 Effort Sharing Regulation – How can the EU’s largest climate tool spur Europe’s low-carbon transition?
European climate policy guide: Vol II – EU Effort Sharing Regulation


Related posts

Climate demonstrators

Why carbon removals do not belong in carbon markets

Policymakers must break the magnetism between carbon markets and carbon removals by putting in place non-market incentives. This requires a rethinking of the EU’s Carbon Removals Certification Framework process and setting the right targets for 2040.

Join our mailing list

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