18 June 2015, Brussels. As the European Commission is consulting on options to cost-effectively reduce emissions in sectors not covered by the EU ETS a new study finds that a wrong design could undermine reduction efforts in the transport, agriculture, buildings and waste sectors by three quarters until 2030. This is because potential intra-EU offsetting options currently under discussion – for example allowing carbon permits from the EU ETS or using forestry offsets – do not represent real emission reductions.
Dear Commissioner Arias Cañete,
The European Commission has consulted stakeholders about the role the EU’s land and forests should play in its 2030 Climate and Energy Framework. With this letter, the undersigned organisations are registering their views and state that Option 1 (LULUCF pillar), is their preferred option since it is the only one that could uphold the environmental and social integrity of the EU’s target. They call on the EU to have a clear position ahead of Paris on the need for two distinct global goals, one for LULUCF and another for other emissions, including non CO2 emissions from agriculture.
At the European Summit in October 2014, Heads of State agreed that, by 2030, the EU will domestically reduce its emissions by at least 40 per cent compared to 1990. In the run up to the United Nations climate summit in Paris, the EU should continue to show leadership to tackle climate change by upholding the environmental integrity of the ‘at least 40 per cent’ target. We believe that unless the following points are addressed, the EU is at risk not only of backsliding on its ambition and harming its credibility in this crucial year for climate, but it could entail damaging impacts on biodiversity and local communities.
1. In your view, which of the multiple objectives of agriculture, forestry and other land use will gain most in relative importance by 2030?
It will be critical to ensure the long-term stability of carbon pools for carbon storage, biodiversity protection and ecosystem preservation in the future. Currently the emissions from land use represent a quarter of all human emissions and it is hence vital that the land use sector also contributes to tackling climate change.
The use of biomass is limited due to finite land availability and therefore the use of biomass should follow the cascading hierarchy and only as a last resort be used for lower-quality applications where other viable alternatives exist, which is the case with power generation.
Finally, it should be recognised that food security and sustainable farming should go hand in hand. Actions that support this include no-till farming, silvopastoral practises and demand-side measures to limit excess consumption.
Carbon Market Watch has presented new ideas on how to tackle the sixty percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions covered under the so-called Effort Sharing Decision (ESD). Two new reports published in June look at how successful the legislation, which only entered the implementation phase last year, has been in tackling emissions from sectors such as agriculture, transport and buildings which are not covered by the EU’s carbon market.
Climate Smart Agriculture, a concept promoted as part of a solution to climate change, has been at the heart of international and national debates on agricultural development in recent years. While many stakeholders push to link it to carbon markets, the arguments of inappropriateness of such system are gaining ground.
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Sectors not included under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the so called non-ETS sectors are covered under the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) which defines the 2020 greenhouse gas reduction targets for these sectors for each Member State. Although these non-ETS sectors include nearly 60% of the EU’s emissions, there has been little focus on the non-ETS sectors and the functioning of the ESD. The EU ETS started already in 2005. The ESD, on the other hand, is part of the 2020 climate and energy package which started only in 2013. The relatively short experience with the ESD may be one of the reasons for the limited awareness about the ESD. Few countries and even NGOs have thought about either the risks of potential loopholes or the opportunities the ESD offers to go beyond the current mitigation commitments.
The Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) covers 60% of EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions and is therefore a centrepiece of Europe’s climate legislation. In contrast to the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which started in 2005, the implementation of the ESD only began in 2013. Therefore, little is known about how successful it has been tackling the sectors not covered by the ETS.
The EU’s 2030 Climate Framework must build on ambitious and economy-wide, legally binding climate, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. Having strong and clearly laid out emission reductions targets for the non-ETS sectors will be vital in order to ensure the EU can meet its low carbon trajectory for 2050. In this article we answer a few of the most important questions about the future of the Effort Sharing Decision.
The current EU Effort Sharing Decision1 (ESD) ensures that the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) target for 2020 is legally binding for Member States and economy wide in scope. It covers almost 60% of Europe’s GHG emissions. Those sectors must deliver significant emissions reductions in the period from 2020 to 2030 if the EU is to develop on a competitive low carbon pathway. A legal framework for non-ETS emissions is therefore essential for the 2030 Climate package. In addition, effective policies in the ESD sectors can yield many other benefits such as job creation and improved public health. We urge the Parliament to utilize its upcoming report on the 2030 package to engage in a constructive debate and help secure the future and reform of the ESD.