Press Release

ESR: Adoption of a weak emissions reduction target won’t get the EU to net zero

November 09, 2022

T&E statement on the adoption of the provisional agreement on the ESR on 09/11

Last night the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council found a provisional political agreement on the Effort Sharing Regulation which sets national reduction targets for 2030 in the sectors of road transport, buildings, waste, small industry and agriculture. The agreement still needs to be approved by the permanent representatives in the Council on Friday 11th of November. Negotiations closed as  COP27 is underway but led to a poor outcome. Even if the final text confirms the update to the 2030 national climate targets for the ESR sectors proposed by the Commission and contains some minor improvements, it remains far from what would have been necessary to ensure to not derail from the pathway to meet the 2030 target and the climate neutrality goal. 

  • The emission reduction trajectory adopted slightly improves the trajectory of the Commission’s proposal. However, it is a major setback from the proposal of the European Parliament because of its generous emissions budget. More importantly, the emissions caps for 2026-2030 will be only known when the trajectory is reviewed in 2025 leaving them uncertain at the moment.
  • Limits on banking and borrowing have been introduced, but they remain loose. However, the flexibilities with the ETS and LULUCF, as well as the safety reserve, remain. These are loopholes that would exempt member states from around half of the emission cuts that they are supposed to deliver on the basis of the emissions reduction trajectory.
  • The additional reserve, that would have been made up of LULUCF credits, has not been adopted.
  • Countries must disclose more information when they sell and buy emissions credits and the possibility to trade emissions credits has been increased
  • If a member state risks underachieving its emissions reduction, corrective actions undertaken must be better linked to existing National Energy and Climate Plans.
  • Legislators refused to include the right for citizens to bring their governments to court if they miss their targets.

  • Countries will continue to not count the emissions from unsustainable biomass in their national GHG inventories under the ESR.

‘All the legislators agreed upon is an update of the 2030 national emission reduction targets. How much the EU will still emit in the ESR sectors until 2030 – the so-called emission budget – was treated as a minor issue, despite the numbers telling us that the bloc might have already used up its share of the global emission budget. The adoption of the targets might make headlines now, but if the EU wants to sell the new Effort Sharing Regulation as a big achievement at COP27, that’s just smoke and mirrors.’, Chiara Corradi, climate policy officer at Transport & Environment.