Countries give only limited information on the results of their policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

News Published 05 Jul 2018 Last modified 05 Jul 2018
1 min read
Photo: © Biel Morro on Unsplash
Most national policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Europe target energy consumption and energy supply, while economic and regulatory instruments are the most common means of cutting emissions, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report, published today. The report also reveals that EU Member States report the actual effects and costs for only a small number of their policies and measures.

The EEA has today published one report and two briefings that analyse the EU Members States’ policies and measures to mitigate climate change.

The report, ‘National policies and measures on climate change mitigation in Europe in 2017’, the first related briefing, ‘Tracking climate policies in European Union countries’, and the EEA database on climate change mitigation policies and measures in Europe together give an overview of more than 1 500 national policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Member States report this information every two years under the EU climate monitoring mechanism. The EEA collects this information, checks its quality, and makes it publicly available.

According to the analysis, Member States’ policies and measures to cut emissions primarily target energy efficiency, renewable energy, and vehicle emissions. Most reported policies and measures are economic, such as direct subsidies or feed-in tariffs, or regulatory, such as energy efficiency standards. Three out of four (74%) national policies and measures had a direct link to EU legislation.

Member States’ reports often lack quantitative information on the effects and costs of their policies. In 2017, only nine Member States reported information on the emission reductions over a mere 65 policies and measures. This means that there is not enough information to calculate the exact impacts of current national mitigation policies across the EU, the EEA report warns.  Such information must be reported by Member States, where it is available.

The second EEA briefing ‘Using Member States information on policies and measures to support policy making: energy efficiency in buildings’ shows that, currently, it is necessary to combine several different sources of information to properly analyse the effectiveness of individual measures, or the aggregate impact of sectoral measures, in curbing emissions. The briefing reminds that effective evaluation of current policies is important because it supports better and more informed decision-making for future policies.

Official emissions data, recently published by the EEA, show that the 28 EU Member States have jointly reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22.4 % from 1990 to 2016. The joint EU target is to cut emissions by at least 20 % by 2020 and by at least 40 % by 2030.


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