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Just three European countries pursuing Paris climate commitments

Tuesday, 25 April, 2017 - 14:18

A new report names Sweden, Germany and France as the only EU countries working to deliver on their commitments to the Paris climate agreement. Poland, Romania and Lithuania came in at the bottom of the table due to their efforts to avoid implementing their promised cuts to greenhouse emissions. The EU Climate Leaders’ Board was compiled by Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment by examining the negotiating positions taken by EU member states in the run-up to the Environment Council meeting in June. At that meeting ministers are hoping to agree on an Effort Sharing Regulation to cover 60% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions from sectors that fall outside the Emissions Trading System like transport, buildings, agriculture and waste. Once agreed, the Effort Sharing Regulation will set binding national emissions reduction targets for the 2021-2030 period.

Member states were ranked by comparing their stated positions for the negotiations in June against the European Commission’s proposals, with those countries whose own proposals meet or exceed those of the Commission’s scoring higher. Countries were marked down for trying to expand the use of forestry as a carbon sink and exploiting the emissions trading system to use surplus ETS allowances for non-traded sectors.

“Relying on credits from planting trees is troublesome as the carbon removals can be reversed at any time when trees are cleared and burned. Emissions from fossil fuels, on the other hand, stay in the atmosphere for centuries,” the report states.

Sweden was awarded 67 points out of 100 judged on criteria including its use of the land use loophole, ETS surplus loophole, governance and ambition level, with the report stating that “Sweden tops the climate leaderboard as it does not want to make use of the ETS surplus loophole and wants to avoid that countries are rewarded for underachieving. Sweden moreover is planning to go beyond its domestic 2030 target of 40% emission cuts and has an ambitious long-term target.”

By contrast, the report notes that Poland, which has only committed to reducing its emissions by 7% by 2030, wants to lower that target even more and has no longer term reductions strategy in place.

“This is the most important climate law that will enable Europe to deliver on the Paris agreement. But the great majority of countries want to rig the law with loopholes so they can continue business as usual,” said Carlos Calvo Ambel, T&E’s transport and energy analyst.

“Either Europe follows the lead of Sweden, Germany and France, which are going in the right direction though not far enough, or we should forget about our climate leadership,” he added.



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