Three key EU policies address GHG emissions and removals: the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS); the Effort Sharing legislation; and the legislation on emissions and removals from LULUCF.
The ETS covers large power stations, large industrial plants, large district heating plants and aviation, representing about 40% of total EU emissions. Emissions have decreased by 41% since 2005, driven by the decarbonisation of the EU power sector. A particularly significant annual emissions reduction of 12% took place in 2020, strongly related to measures curbing the Covid-19 pandemic.
National GHG reduction targets are governed by the Effort Sharing legislation. The national targets cover sectors such as transport, buildings, non-ETS industry, agriculture and waste. Emissions have fallen by 15% since 2005, much less than the reductions seen in ETS emissions, reflecting higher abatement costs. There was a strong decrease of 6% between 2019 and 2020, which can be largely ascribed to the Covid-19 pandemic.
By 2030, EU projections submitted by Member States point to a 29% reduction in Effort Sharing emissions compared with 2005 levels and a 47% reduction for ETS emissions compared with 2005 levels (not taking into account the new targets for 2030 and 2050 and the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ policy proposals to address them).
The LULUCF sector at EU level represents a net carbon sink of about 249 Mt CO2e in 2019, corresponding to the absorption of 7% of total GHG emissions.