Documents considered by the Committee on 14 December 2016 Contents

6Climate action progress report

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny

Document details

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Implementing the Paris Agreement — Progress of the EU towards the at-least 40% target (required under Article 21 of Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and for reporting other information at national and Union level relevant to climate change and repealing Decision No 280/2004/EC)

Legal base

Department

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Document Number

(38259), 14299/16, COM(16) 707

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

6.1The EU has made a number of commitments in recent years to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and the principal aim of this Commission report is to assess the progress to date on each of these. In addition, it looks at climate finance, the steps taken to mitigate EU emissions, adaptation to climate change, and international climate policy.

6.2According to the Government, the documents provide a useful summary of recent developments, but do not give rise to any policy implications. Consequently, whilst we are drawing them to the attention of the House, we are content to clear them.

Full details of the documents

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Implementing the Paris Agreement—Progress of the EU towards the at-least 40% target (required under Article 21 of Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and for reporting other information at national and Union level relevant to climate change and repealing Decision No 280/2004/EC): (38259), 14299/16, COM(16) 707.

Background

6.3The EU has made a number of commitments in recent years to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and the principal aim of this Commission report is to assess the progress to date on each of these. In addition, it looks at climate finance, the steps taken to mitigate EU emissions, adaptation to climate change, and international climate policy.

The current document

EU emission reduction measures

2020 Climate and Energy Package

6.4The EU’s 2020 Climate and Energy Package was adopted in 2009, and set the EU a target of reducing emissions in 2020 by 20% compared with 1990. The package is in two parts—one relating to industrial and energy sectors covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which provides an EU-wide cap, and the other to those under the Effort Sharing Decision (406/2009/EC), which sets annual emissions allocations for each Member State. According to the Commission, the EU should meet its target, as total emissions in 2020 are expected to be 24% lower than in 1990, and most Member States are also projected to meet their targets in the non-ETS sectors.

Kyoto Protocol

6.5In order to meet the environmental challenges presented by global warming, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) set legally binding emission targets for industrialised countries to meet by 2012. The Community of 15 accordingly undertook to reduce its 1990 emission levels by 8% by the period 2008–12, with reductions being apportioned between the individual Member States, whilst the new Member States (apart from Cyprus and Malta) had individual reduction targets. Under the second Kyoto commitment period from 2013–2020, the EU—in line with its 2020 Climate and Energy Package—has undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by at least 20% compared with 1990 levels, with separate targets for those sectors within and outside the Emissions Trading System (ETS).

6.6This report shows that, by the end of the first Kyoto commitment period in 2012, cumulative EU emissions were 23.5 Gigatonnes35 carbon dioxide equivalent, some 12.5% below the 26.7 Gigatonne target, whilst the EU as a whole, and all its Member States are on course to meet their commitments under the second Kyoto commitment period (2013–2020), although a number of Member States will need to take additional action in areas not covered by the ETS.

EU 2030 climate and energy framework

6.7In October 2014, the European Council agreed that the main elements of an EU 2030 climate and energy framework should include

6.8The Commission says that, according to the latest projections provided by Member States, the total EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 will be 26% below 1990 levels, and that the EU and Member States will therefore need to put further mitigation measures in place. It observes that, in order to address this, it has so far proposed in July 2015 a revised EU ETS Directive, followed by legislative proposals in July 2016 for sectors outside the ETS.

Paris Agreement

6.9The Commission notes that the Paris Agreement—which replaces the Kyoto Protocol, and which it describes as a global milestone for collective action to achieve a low-carbon economy—was ratified by the EU on 4 October 2016, thereby allowing it to come into force the following month. In addition, ratification by individual Member States is also taking place.

Other issues

Climate Finance

6.10The report provides an overview of climate and energy finance, noting that the auctioning of ETS allowances generated €4.936 billion (£4.18 billion) of revenues for the Member States in 2015, and that at least 20% of the EU budget over the 2014–20 period37 is expected on average to be climate relevant expenditure. It also points out that, internationally, the EU and its Member States are the biggest providers of official development assistance to developing countries, delivering €68 billion in 2014, and that the EU also continues to support the implementation of market based instruments, such as the ETS, as key tools to drive cost effective emission reductions through both bilateral measures and multilateral initiatives (such as those undertaken by the World Bank).

Mitigation of EU emissions

6.11The report details the various means by which the EU plans to mitigate its emissions to meet its -40% commitment by 2030, including the proposed revision of the EU ETS for 2021–30 and the complementary proposal for other sectors not regulated in this way. It also notes the European strategy for low-emission mobility published by the Commission in July 2016; the adoption in April 2015 of an EU regulation requiring large ships using EU ports after 1 January 2018 to monitor and later report their annual verified carbon dioxide emissions, and other energy related data; the implementation of the Carbon Capture Storage Directive; and the application since 1 January 2015 of an EU regulation to control fluorinated greenhouse gases. In addition, EU leaders have agreed that a reliable and transparent governance system without unnecessary administrative burdens should be developed at an EU level, where the Commission will present before the end of 2016 a proposal for streamlining existing planning, reporting and monitoring obligations as well as an Energy Union governance process, including reporting on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Adaptation to Climate Change

6.12The report notes the EU’s Strategy on adaptation to climate change and trends within Member States and says that, in 2017, the Commission will report to the European Parliament and Council on the implementation of the adaptation strategy and carry out an evaluation.

International Climate Policy

6.13The report summarises the EU’s participation in international climate policy. It notes that, in addition to the Paris Agreement, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has opted for a carbon offsetting scheme with the objective to stabilise emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels, and that the EU was very active in the negotiations of an ambitious global goal under the Montreal Protocol to limit the global production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The Government’s view

6.14In his Explanatory Memorandum of 28 November 2016, the Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Nick Hurd) simply notes that these documents provide a useful summary of recent developments in the respective policy areas, but that they do not give rise to any policy implications.

Previous Committee Reports

None.


35 A Gigatonne is 109 tonnes.

36 €1= £0.8525

37 Approximately €200 billion.




16 December 2016