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  • Loopholes in the 2030 Effort Sharing Decision

    This summer, the European Commission will present a new legislative proposal on the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) for the post-2020 period. Around 60% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the non-ETS sectors, such as surface transport, agriculture, waste and buildings.

    As the EU’s largest climate instrument, the ESD is key in reducing emissions from these sectors. European Heads of State suggested in 2014 to set the emission reduction target to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. In light of the international Paris Agreement on climate change, and the transformation Europe needs to undergo, this proposed target is not ambitious enough.

    Additionally, even this inadequate target is at risk of being undermined. Governments and stakeholdersare trying to water down Europe’s climate action even further, by introducing loopholes in order to minimise their contributions to cutting emissions, and undermine Europe’s future climate ambition. In fact, if all loopholes were included in the 2030 ESD, the EU would not have to cut emissions but would instead be allowed to increase them. Under this worst case scenario, the loopholes would allow Member States to release more than 2.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent between 2021 and 2030, rather than cutting emissions by 2.4 billion tonnes, which means that the EU is at risk of emitting 4.7 billion tonnes more CO2-equivalenti than its 2030 climate pledge.