Overview of reported national policies and measures on climate change mitigation in Europe in 2015


Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

Information reported by Member States under the European Union Monitoring Mechanism Regulation

This technical report presents a synthesis of the information on climate change mitigation policies and measures (PaMs) (1) reported in 2015 by Member States under the European Union (EU) Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (MMR) (2). The report aims to provide an overview of the main characteristics of the PaMs implemented, adopted or planned by Member States, such as their objective, type, targeted sectors, entities responsible for their implementation, etc. Where available, Member States also reported quantitative information on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings achieved by PaMs (or groups of PaMs), both ex post (retrospectively) and ex ante (anticipated savings), as well as the projected and realised costs and benefits of the reported PaMs.

Information on PaMs was reported for the first time under the MMR in 2015. However, this reporting stream builds on the pre‑existing reporting requirements of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (3) and uses of the former EU Monitoring Mechanism Decision (MMD) (4).

The report is based on the submissions, by 25 June 2015, of 20 Member States (the list of Member States is presented in Table 2.1). These reports were subject to quality control (QC) by the European Topic Centre for Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM). Nineteen Member States subsequently revised and resubmitted their reports. For the eight Member States that did not submit a report on their climate PaMs before 25 June 2015 or that did not use the online questionnaire, the most recent submissions on PaMs before 2015 (i.e. from 2013 or 2014) were used.

Key results

What kind of policies or measures have been reported by Member States?

In total, Member States reported information on 1 382 individual PaMs (including: 976 implemented, 183 planned, 142 adopted and 81 expired) and 73 grouped PaMs (a group consisted of between 2 and 62 individual PaMs).

Policies are primarily directed at the energy consumption (26%), transport (23%) and energy supply (10%) sectors. Sectors that represent a smaller share of emissions also have a smaller share of PaMs, namely the agriculture (9%), waste (7%), land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) (5%) and industrial processes (5%) sectors. A significant number of policies affect more than one sector (26%).

Most PaMs aim to improve the energy efficiency of buildings (18%) and to increase the share of renewable energy (11%). PaMs affecting the transport sector primarily aim to reduce emissions by improving energy efficiency (7%) and switching to low‑carbon fuels or electric vehicles (7%).

The largest share of PaMs are economic (e.g. subsidies or feed‑in tariffs) or regulatory (e.g. energy efficiency standards) in nature, each representing 30% of PaMs.

The most important years for the adoption of new PaMs were 2004 and 2014. Despite a dip in the number of policies started in 2012, 2010–2014 is the period in which the greatest number of reported PaMs began implementation.

Member States also identified the EU policy or policies that were responsible for the implementation of national PaMs. The most important EU policies were: the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) (5), the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) (6), the Energy End‑use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive (7), the recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) (8) and the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) (9).

How much greenhouse gas emissions were avoided and what further emission savings are expected from policies and measures?

Ex post emissions savings are significantly under‑reported, with only three Member States (Finland, France and Spain) reporting information on the emissions reductions achieved for a mere 26 different PaMs (10). This does not constitute a sufficient basis for an analysis of the emissions savings achieved by existing national climate policies across the EU.

24 Member States reported quantified information on expected (ex ante) savings from 799 PaMs (58% of the total number of PaMs) by 2020 (10). No information was reported by Hungary and Portugal. The savings reported by Slovakia were not considered owing to quality issues (11). The sum of all expected emissions savings (12) from existing measures reported by 24 Member States for the year 2020 reaches 665 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2‑eq.). An additional 50 Mt CO2‑eq. is anticipated from the implementation of additional measures (already planned). The contribution of existing policies to projected GHG emission trends varies greatly across Member States, with reported savings from existing policies for 2020 ranging from close to 0% of total projected emissions (13) in Spain to 84% of total projected emissions in Malta (i.e. without any of these existing policy savings, Maltese emissions would have been close to double what they are projected to be today). Overall, the aggregated emissions savings from existing policies reported by 24 Member States correspond to 17% (14) of the total projected 2020 emissions.

Current energy generation and efficiency policies represent more than 55% of total expected emissions savings for 2020. Member States did not report sufficient emissions savings for 2025, 2030 and 2035 to allow for a quantitative analysis of such savings. In many cases, Member States present quantified savings for 2020 only, but not for 2025, 2030 or 2035, even though these policies are considered to deliver savings well after 2020.

PaMs savings that are related to EU policies account for 86% of all quantified savings for 2020. Despite their 24 % share in the total number of reported PaMs, the savings not related to EU policies are expected to contribute to only 14% of the total quantified savings for 2020.

How are the '20/20/20' targets (15) and the climate and energy package expected to contribute to emission reductions?

The reported data suggest that significant emissions savings are expected by 2020 through the implementation of EU policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Existing PaMs linked (16) by Member States to EU policies supporting renewable energy (17) are expected to deliver savings of 359 Mt CO2‑eq. (54 % of the total reported emission savings) by 2020. Additional measures could deliver further savings of 11 Mt CO2‑eq. Most of the savings would take place under the EU ETS: 71% of the total emissions savings in 2020 are reported to take place in the ETS sectors (18) and 15% in the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) sectors (19).

The total emissions savings expected from existing PaMs linked by Member States to EU energy efficiency policies amount to 135 Mt CO2‑eq (20 % of the total reported emission savings). Planned policies would deliver an additional saving of 8 Mt CO2‑eq.

Member States did not specifically relate substantial savings to the implementation of the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) (20), although a large part of the total estimated savings by 2020 are expected to take place in the sectors covered by the ESD (those that are outside the EU ETS). This could be due to incomplete reporting of emissions savings by Member States or the fact that, so far, limited policy action might have been taken in direct response to the ESD, possibly because most Member States are currently well on track to achieve their ESD targets. The other explanation could be that emissions savings are reported for other specific policies, also implemented to reach the ESD targets, but not for the ESD itself (e.g. F‑gas regulation (21)).

Quality of the reported information

The assessment of the information reported by Member States highlights a number of quality issues, which affect the analysis and the conclusions that can be drawn from that information.

The completeness of the reported information per PaM has improved compared with previous reporting under the MMD in 2013. However, completeness remains the most important issue undermining the quality of the analysis. Besides the complete lack of reporting by some Member States, some sectors and important EU policies that require transposition into national legislation are missing in the reports of some Member States. In particular, information on ex post emissions savings, costs and benefits, and indicators, which are mandatory reporting requirements for Member States (when information is available) remain severely underreported.

Although the reporting requirements are fulfilled by Member States, the quality of quantitative information is subject to additional quality issues. Information on the emissions savings resulting from PaMs is either completely missing (e.g. for Hungary and Portugal (22)) or incomplete (e.g. for Spain). The reported data can also be incorrect (for this reason, data from Slovakia on emissions savings were omitted from the analysis (11)), not reported using the required tools (e.g. Denmark) or simply heterogeneous, i.e. estimated using methodologies which are not fully comparable across Member States (there is no specific requirement on the use of specific methods). There is therefore considerable scope to improve the reporting of emissions savings.

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