International climate protection

EU climate and energy policies

Louise-Weiss-Gebäude in Straßburg, Sitz des Europäischen Parlaments

The EU Commission has set out a framework for its climate and energy policies up to 2030. The new targets will take these policies forward at the end of the current 2020 framework.

In particular, the targets call for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels, an increase in renewable energy consumption to at least 27 percent and an improvement of energy efficiency by at least 27 percent, with an option after a review to increase the efficiency goal to 30 percent by 2020.

Two important instruments of EU climate policy are the Emissions Trading System and the Effort Sharing Decision, are summarised here as examples.

Emissions Trading System

Trading in emission allowances for greenhouse gases is a key element of EU climate policy. It covers almost half of the greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and about 30 percent in Baden-Württemberg. However, owing to continued low prices for emission allowances, the system has not had the desired effect. The rules for the fourth trading phase beginning in 2021 are currently being modified and updated. Among other measures, the number of tradable allowances will be reduced by 2.2 percent annually instead of the present 1.74 percent. A market stability reserve will be created as early as 2019 in order to cut back the number of surplus allowances based on a precalculated model.

Effort Sharing Decision

Emissions that fall outside the scope of the Emissions Trading System are covered by the Effort Sharing Decision. This includes emissions from buildings, transport, agriculture and waste. The target, set for 2030, is to reduce these emissions throughout Europe by 30 percent compared to 2005, with a range of 0 to 40 percent. In Germany a reduction by 38 percent is planned.