Mitigation of EU emissions

The European Council is made up of the Heads of State and Government of the EU. In October 2014, the Council reached a framework agreement on action on climate and energy of the EU until 2030. The EU set a binding target of emissions reduction of at least 40%, compared to 1990 levels. This agreement is the basis of the EU’s international commitment in the framework of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and should be reached by all Member States.

To begin implementing this commitment, the Commission presented a proposal to reform the EU Emission Rights Trade Regime (EU ETS) in July 2015. In July 2016, the Commission presented a set of measures to address the sectors of construction, transport, waste, agriculture, and the use of land and forestry in its contribution to climate action. In addition, the Commission is developing initiatives for the Energy Union in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, transport, research and development.

Investments in EU climate policy

For the 2014-2020 period, it has been estimated that at least 20% of the EU budget will be allocated to climate. This means an expenditure of 200 billion euros through different means:

– The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) make up 43% of the EU budget. They cover 530 programs for financing climate policies, with more than 115 billion euros, representing 25% of total funds.

– The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with 39% of the EU budget.

– 2020 Horizon, an EU research program with a budget of 79 billion euros (7% of the total budget of the EU). At least 35% of these funds will be allocated to climate-related projects.

– Public-private partnerships launched by European authorities and the industry to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption.

For the 2018-2020 period, results of COP21, the Paris Agreement and the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (EETE) promote the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies.

– The European Fund for Strategic Investments (FEIE) uses 16 billion euros from the EU budget, together with 5 billion from the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) own resources to support strategic investments in infrastructure, education, research, innovation and small business risk financing. Renewable energy projects have already been financed in transportation, industry and energy storage. In September 2016, the Commission proposed to expand this fund for innovative low-carbon projects, with at least 500 billion euros to be invested until 2020.

– The LIFE program, with the climate action subprogramme. In 2015, it contributed to the implementation and development of the policy and legislation to combat climate change, through 56 million euros granted to 40 projects to mitigate climate change, governance and information. 10 million euros were allocated to 30 NGOs specializing in the environment and climate action. In Spain, France and the Czech Republic, three PF4EE operations have been signed (private financing for energy efficiency).

Objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Spain is committed to limiting or reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, both within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, as well as that of the European Union. Next, these national objectives are reviewed:

2008 – 2012: It is the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In it, Spain should limit the increase of its greenhouse gas emissions with an average of net emissions not exceeding 15% over the base year emissions level (1990/1995).

2013 – 2020: A reduction commitment is established through the European Energy and Climate Change Package. This establishes concrete objectives to be reached in 2020 in renewable energy, energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, according to the commitment of the Kyoto Protocol, emissions from the European Union must be reduced by 20% compared to 1990 levels. The effort to achieve these reductions is divided into two large blocks:

  • On the one hand, there are CO2 emissions from the sectors that are most intensive in the use of energy. These sectors are regulated under the European emission rights trade created by Directive 2003/87 / EC. Its objective is to achieve a reduction of its emissions of 21% in 2020 compared to its levels in 2005. This objective is global at a European level, without a distribution of effort between the member states.
  • Remaining emissions are excluded from the scope of emissions trading and have an objective to be achieved by 2020: The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of the Community by 10%, compared to the levels of 2005. The necessary effort to achieving this global reduction is shared among the different member states through Decision 406/2009 / EC (Decision of distribution of efforts). It is up to Spain to achieve a 10% reduction. In Decision 162/2013 / EC, the annual emission allowances of the member states are determined in the period 2013-2020, in accordance with the agreement in Decision 406/2009 / EC. In Decision 1471/2017, Decision 162/2013 / EC is modified to revise the annual allocations of the emissions of the member states in the 2017 to 2020 period. According to this last regulation, it is up to Spain to reduce these emissions by 7% until 2020.

2021 – 2030: This period coincides with that covered by the Paris Agreement. The emission reduction objectives are set out in the conclusions of the European Council in October 2014. These conclusions approve the Energy Policy and Climate Change Framework 2021-2030 (“Framework 2030”), to give continuity to the European Energy Package and Climate change. Main objectives of the 2030 Framework are:

  • A binding target for the EU in 2030 of at least 40% less greenhouse gas emissions than in 1990.
  • A binding target for the EU in 2030 of at least 27% renewable energies in energy consumption.
  • An indicative target for the EU in 2030 of at least 27% improvement in energy efficiency.
  • The urgent achievement, until 2020, of the current 10% electricity interconnection objective, in particular for the Baltic States and the Iberian Peninsula, and the goal of reaching 15% by 2030.

2050 Horizon: Finally, there is the Communication made by the European Commission in 2011, which consists of a roadmap towards a low carbon and competitive economy in 2050. This sheet establishes the key elements of climate action for the European Union economy to become a low-carbon and competitive economy. Although it does not establish binding targets, it does indicate how the European Union should reduce its emissions by 80% below the levels of 1990 through domestic reductions, establishing intermediate milestones (reductions in the order of 40% in 2030 and 60% in 2040).

In Spain, the future Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition will establish the guidelines to achieve the international commitments acquired on climate change and energy efficiently.

Binding national objectives of each Member State

Each EU country has a different situation; For this reason, different national emission reduction targets have been established, determined by the GDP per capita of each Member State:

Country2030 Objective
United Kingdom-37%
Czech Republic-14%

To ensure that all countries achieve these objectives, a progression in emissions reduction is established at a steady rate during the 2021 and 2030 period. Some flexibility will also be allowed: For example, Member States may accumulate, borrow and transfer annual allocations of emissions between one year and another. The European Parliament also supports EU Member States with lower incomes: if they act before 2020, they will be rewarded with more flexibility during the last phase of the period.