The good, the bad and the ugly: from Effort Sharing Decision to Climate Action Regulation

The Climate Action Regulation (CAR), known previously as the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) will become part of European law in 2018. In December 2017 policy-makers reached a deal on what will be one of the key pieces of climate legislation in the decades to come. Fortunately, the agreed deal is an improvement compared to the Commission’s proposal of July 2016. Unfortunately, the agreed text is not aligned with the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

This paper analyses the different elements agreed in the soon-to-become law, and assesses the role played by different parties involved in the process, with the objective of making public something that normally only a few have access to. While the European Parliament was very ambitious in its position, the Council of the European Union played a two-faced game, claiming to be very ambitious in public but trying to reduce ambition in comparison to the Parliament and what the Paris Agreement requires. The European Commission played a key role in pushing the European Parliament to reduce its ambition.

Now that the CAR will finally become law, it is time to use still open energy files, such as the renewable energy directive, vehicle CO2 standards, and the energy efficiency directive, to increase the ambition to reduce emissions in the sectors included under the CAR. Simultaneously, countries should pledge to establish plans to increase ambition at national level beyond the targets included in the CAR. Finally, the European Commission should start the work to increase ambition in the CAR as soon as possible, aligning with the processes of the Paris Agreement.