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Reducing greenhouse gases by 2020: Effort Sharing Decision

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Reducing greenhouse gases by 2020: Effort Sharing Decision

The Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) establishes binding annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets for European Union (EU) countries for the period 2013-20. These targets concern emissions from most sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), such as transport (except aviation and international maritime shipping), buildings, agriculture and waste.

ACT

Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2020

SUMMARY

The Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) establishes binding annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets for European Union (EU) countries for the period 2013-20. These targets concern emissions from most sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), such as transport (except aviation and international maritime shipping), buildings, agriculture and waste.

The ESD forms part of a set of policies and measures on climate change and energy - known as the climate and energy package - that will help move Europe towards a low-carbon economy and increase its energy security.

WHAT DOES THE DECISION DO?

The ESD sets national emission targets for 2020, expressed as percentage changes from 2005 emission levels. It also fixes how many tonnes of GHG emissions each EU country may emit in each year from 2013 to 2020 in the sectors covered by the decision.

KEY POINTS

The emission targets for 2020 have been set on the basis of EU countries’ relative wealth (measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita). They range from a 20 % emissions reduction by 2020 (from 2005 levels) for the richest EU countries to a 20 % increase for the least wealthy one, Bulgaria.

To ensure a steady progress towards the 2020 target, the ESD also fixes GHG emission limits for each country for each year. These limits are called annual emission allocations (AEAs).

At the same time, flexibilities in reaching the targets permit the EU countries to make the emission reductions in a cost-effective way: EU countries can borrow 5 % of their AEAs from the next year and buy AEAs from other EU countries or buy credits from certain projects, for example from a project that helps least-developed countries cut their emissions. Should an EU country reduce its emissions by more than needed, thus exceeding its target for a given year, it can bank the surplus AEAs for later use (until 2020) or sell it to other EU countries.

Each country must report its emissions and progress towards its target to the Commission every year.

If in 1 year a country emits more GHG than it is allowed to, it has to inform the Commission of how it plans to get ‘back on track’, as well as pay a ‘fee’ in the form of a stricter emission target for the following year.

WHEN DOES THE DECISION APPLY?

From 2013 to 2020.

BACKGROUND

To tackle global warming, the EU is committed to reducing its GHG emissions by at least 20 % by 2020 compared to 1990. To reach this target, the EU has adopted two main laws:

1.

The EU ETS, covering more than 11 000 power stations and industrial plants, as well as airlines; and

2.

the ESD, obliging each of the 28 EU countries to contribute with a specific share to the EU’s overall minus 20 % target. This happens through GHG emission reductions in most sectors not included in the EU ETS.

For further information, see the European Commission’s webpage on the ESD.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 406/2009/EC

25.6.2009

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OJ L 140 of 5.6.2009, pp. 136-148.

RELATED ACTS

Commission Decision 2013/162/EU of 26 March 2013 on determining Member States’ annual emission allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (Official Journal L 90 of 28.3.2013, pp. 106-110).

Commission Implementing Decision 2013/634/EU of 31 October 2013 on the adjustments to Member States’ annual emission allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (Official Journal L 292 of 1.11.2013, pp. 19-22).

Last updated: 26.03.2015

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