Commission Presents Package of Measures to Accelerate Transition of the EU to Low-Carbon Economy


On 20 July 2016, European Commission presented package of measures to accelerate Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy. As part of the EU’s forward looking climate change policy and Energy Union, the package includes proposal on binding CO2 emission reductions for Member States from 2021-2030 for the transport, buildings, agriculture, waste management sectors.


The package is designed to help Member States prepare for the future and puts them at the forefront of deciding how to implement the measures to meet EU wide emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030, which was agreed by EU leaders in 2014.


"The EU has an ambitious emissions reduction target, one I am convinced we can achieve through the collective efforts of all Member States. The national binding targets we are proposing are fair, flexible and realistic. They set the right incentives to unleash investments in sectors like transport, agriculture, buildings and waste management. With these proposals, we are showing that we have done our homework and that we keep our promises,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy.


EU Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič added, “With the proposed reform of the Emissions Trading System last year and today's proposal on greenhouse gas emissions targets for Member States, we anchor the 2030 Energy and Climate framework in legislation.


According to European Commission, all Member States will have national emission targets for 2030 expressed as a percentage reduction from 2005 emission levels. These targets range from 0% to -40% compared to 2005 levels. Member States with higher income will be expected to take on more ambitious targets than member States with lower income. To meet these targets more cost-effectively, Member States will also have access to new flexibilities that were introduced in the proposal. The Commission will evaluate progress of Member States towards achieving these targets and will report on this.


New package of measures also includes European Strategy for low-emissions mobility. "Transport accounts for a quarter of Europe's greenhouse gas emissions and is a main cause of air pollution. The transition to low-emission mobility is therefore essential to reach the EU's ambitious climate objectives and to improve the quality of life in our cities. It is also an opportunity to modernise the EU's economy and keep Europe's industry competitive. The Strategy we adopted today presents a roadmap towards low-emission mobility and will give an impetus to that shift," said EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.


Under this strategy, Commission plans to create initiatives that will encourage to make the most of technology to increase efficiency of a transport system, accelerate the shift to more lower emissions transport modes, speed up the deployment of low emissions alternative energy for transport (biofuels, electricity, hydrogen). The Commission is also preparing a plan to stimulate the use of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, promote links between different modes of transport and improve road charging. Besides this, the Commission also proposed and already implemented some improvements on how vehicle emissions are measured and verified, and is currently working on post-2020 standards for cars and vans. To support actions, Commission mobilized €70 bln for transport under  European Structural and Investment Fund and €6.4 bln for low-carbon mobility projects under Horizon 2020. The new Skills Agenda for Europe will ensure that workers are able to acquire the necessary skills to match the technological transition towards low-emissions mobility.


To help preserve and strengthen capacity of forests and soils to capture CO2 in sustainable way, Commission also presented proposal to integrate the land use sector in the EU Climate and Energy Framework. The proposal includes “no debit rule” which means that each Member State will be required to ensure that accounted CO2 emissions from land use are entirely compensated by an equivalent removal of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere through action in the same sector.


The proposal provides framework for Member States to incentivize more climate-friendly land use and includes more robust accounting rules that regulate how emissions and removals – i.e. the absorption of CO₂ by agricultural lands and forests - are to be recognised, measured and compiled in a standardized way. All Member States will be expected to apply these standardized accounting rules and report on emissions and removals annually.

Source: European Commission


by Natalie Myhalnytska


Free publications:

Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016 — Transforming cities in a changing climate

Signals 2016 – Towards green and smart mobility

More from less — material resource efficiency in Europe

8 factsheets on how the EU can get the circular economy right



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