The EU has adopted a target of reducing average annual emissions within the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol by 20% compared to Kyoto base year emissions. Currently implemented policies put the EU on a good trajectory towards meeting this target. In fact, projections indicate that no additional policies between now and 2020 would be required for the EU to meet their joint target. However, policies fall well short of bringing the EU on a trajectory towards meeting their 2050 objective of reducing emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels.
The EU27 target for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce emissions by 20% below 1990 levels. In May 2012, the EU27 first submitted a provisional QELRO level of 80 for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, to be fulfilled jointly by the European Union and its Member States. This QELRO is also inscribed in the amendments agreed in Doha in December 2012. This means that EU27 joint average yearly emissions during the period of 2013-2020 are proposed to be 80% of 1990 levels.
The current target for the European Community (EU15) in the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol is set at a reduction of 8%. Through the expansion of the European Union the aggregate effective Kyoto Protocol target (2008-2012) for the EU27 is estimated to be -7.7% relative to 1990 emission levels.
Under the Copenhagen Accord the EU27 proposed to decrease emissions by -20 to -30% relative to 1990 by 2020 and by -80 to -95% below 1990 by 2050. The EU announced its target of -30% of 1990 emissions by 2020 as part of a global agreement post-2012 provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable efforts and developing countries contribute according to their capabilities.
EU clarified that its accounting rules for this post-2012 target are more stringent than the current rules under the Kyoto Protocol:
EU leaders endorsed the objective of reducing Europe's greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels as part of efforts by developed countries as a group to reduce their emissions by a similar degree (DG Climate 2013).
In addition, the EU supports proposals to remove emissions from natural disturbances and to count removals from harvested wood products. This has not been accounted for here, but could lead to higher credits (or lower debits). However, the inclusion of international aviation into the European emissions trading scheme is the first effort to regulate emissions from this sector globally. The impact of this on EU27’s 2020 target was not quantitatively evaluated here.
The future projections of currently implemented policies continue the past downward trend, although with much lower reduction rates per year. Until 2020 emission are projected to decrease around 0.3% per year, after that by 0.1% per year until 2030. Emissions in 2020 are estimated between 4,150 MtCO2e and 4,165 MtCO2e. In 2030 they are projected to be between 4,034 MtCO2e and 4,049 MtCO2e.
Emissions in the EU27 have been on a decreasing trend since 1990. In 2011, emissions were 18.3% below 1990 levels. After a steep decline in 2009 due to the recession and a spike upward following the recovery in 2010, they dropped again in 2011.
Current trend projections include all major EU policies implemented, including the EU ETS, the Effort Sharing Directive and a wide range of other EU wide regulations influencing GHG emissions. It also includes the most important national policies. A list of the most important policies covered by the projections is provided in Table 13 below.
The most recent relevant policy development in the EU is the adoption of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) in October 2012 (European Union, 2012). The main features of the Directive are:
Based on the original impact assessment published in 2011 which analysed a number of different options proposed for the Directive we estimate effects to be between 82 and 97 MtCO2e by 2020 and assume that the effects then stay constant until 2030.
The methodological clarifications related to the Copenhagen pledge mentioned above are important, since they lead to differences in effective emissions for the pledge under the Convention and for the Kyoto target. The most important element is the different starting point for emissions under the Kyoto Protocol and under the Convention. These differences explain why both the 20% decrease from 1990 by 2020 as pledged under the Convention and the Kyoto target to reduce average emissions of 20% below base year over the second commitment period arrive at almost the same emission levels by 2020. This is illustrated in the following figure.
Differences between Kyoto QELRC and Copenhagen pledge for the EU
We calculated EU's LULUCF accounting quantities for the period 2014-2020 for afforestation, reforestation and deforestation using the current Kyoto rules, and for forest management using a net-net approach with a projected reference level for 2014-2020. Some EU countries have included a background level for natural disturbances.
The EU provided historical data on forest management and afforestation, reforestation and deforestation data for many of its member states.
Where members did not submit data it was - wherever available - compiled using the time series data from the national inventories (CRF 2013).
The current trend projections are based on the EEA projections published in October 2012 (European Environment Agency, 2012). EEA projections for 2025 and 2030 are based on Member State projections where available. For the 2012 projections this was the case for 12 countries. The others projections were done using the relative trends from the Commissions scenarios based on the PRIMES and GAINS models.
The assumption is that the EU policies covered in the Energy Roadmap scenarios are covered in the respective projection scenarios (with existing / additional measures). The policies included in Table 11 are therefore the policies included in the EU Energy roadmap (European Commission, 2011a). We assume the existing policies scenarios are based on the 'Reference Scenario'. Neither the Energy Roadmap scenarios nor the EEA projections include estimates for the Energy Efficiency Directive as adopted. The effects were estimated based on the 2011 Impact Assessment (European Commission, 2011b).
From the different options quantified within the impact assessment, those that most closely match the finally decided measures within the Directive were identified with their respective impact. This was assessed with relation to expected overlap with other measures/policies included in the underlying policy scenario and with other measures within the package, and towards the expected effectiveness of measures. This assessment is reflected in a correction factor per measure. The adjusted minimum and maximum values are then added up to the overall effect.
Belgium and the European Commission on behalf of the European Union and its member states (2010). Submission to the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP): Reference levels for Forest Management
Council of the European Union Council (2009). Conclusions on EU position for the Copenhagen Climate Conference (7-18 December 2009) 2968th ENVIRONMENT Council meeting Luxembourg, 21 October 2009
Council of the European Union (2008). Brussels European Council, 11 and 12 December 2008, 17271/1/08
CRF (2013). UNFCCC AWG-KP Submissions 2013. Common Reporting Format.
Czech Republic on behalf of the European Community and its member states (2009). Definitions, modalities, rules and guidelines for the treatment of land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) in the post 2012 period (AWG-KP). Views and proposals for further elaboration of the options, elements and issues contained in annex III to the report of the first part of the sixth session, and annex IV to the report at the resumed fifth session, including views on how and which proposals could address cross-cutting issues, 12 February 2009, FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/MISC.5
Denmark and the European Commission on behalf of the European Union and its member States (2012b). Submission to the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP): Information by Parties included in Annex I listed in annex 1 to decision 1/CMP.7 on their quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, 19 April 2012
DG Climate (2013): What is the EU doing about climate? Website of the European Commission.
European Commission (2011a). Energy Roadmap 2050. Impact assessment and scenario analysis.
European Commission (2011b). Impact assessment for the Directive on Energy Efficiency.
European Environment Agency (2013). Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2013. Copenhagen.
European Environment Agency (2012). Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2012. Copenhagen.
European Union (2012). Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (Vol. 4).
European Union (2010). Pledge of the EU27 to the Copenhagen Accord. Compiled in: Compilation of economy-wide emission reduction targets to be implemented by Parties included in Annex I to the Convention, UNFCCC (2011).
Hungary and the European Commission on behalf of the European Union and its member states (2011) Submission to the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP): Forest management reference level
JRC/PBL (2012) EDGAR version 4.2 FT2010. Joint Research Centre of the European Commission/PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.