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Effort Sharing Decision

The Effort Sharing Decision establishes binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States for the period 2013–2020. These targets concern emissions from most sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), such as transport (except aviation and international maritime shipping), buildings, agriculture and waste.

The Effort Sharing Decision forms part of a set of policies and measures on climate change and energy – known as the climate and energy package - that will help move Europe towards a low-carbon economy and increase its energy security.


10% reduction of emissions from the non-ETS sectors

The Effort Sharing Decision sets national emission targets for 2020, expressed as percentage changes from 2005 levels. It also lays down how the annual emission allocations (AEAs) in tonnes for each year from 2013 to 2020 are to be calculated.

The national emission targets for 2020 (click on the table to enlarge it) have been agreed unanimously. They have been set on the basis of Member States’ relative wealth (measured by Gross Domestic Product per capita). They range from a 20% emissions reduction by 2020 (from 2005 levels) for the richest Member States to a 20% increase for the least wealthy one, Bulgaria. Croatia, which joined the EU on 1 July 2013, is allowed to increase emissions by 11%.

Less wealthy countries are allowed emission increases in these sectors because their relatively higher economic growth is likely to be accompanied by higher emissions. Nevertheless their targets represent a limit on their emissions compared with projected business as usual growth rates. A reduction effort is thus required by all Member States.

By 2020, the national targets will collectively deliver a reduction of around 10% in total EU emissions from the sectors covered compared with 2005 levels. Together with a 21% cut in emissions covered by the EU ETS, this will accomplish the overall emission reduction goal of the climate and energy package, namely a 20% cut below 1990 levels by 2020.

National action needed

In contrast to sectors in the EU ETS, which are regulated at EU level, it is the responsibility of Member States to define and implement national policies and measures to limit emissions from the sectors covered by the Effort Sharing Decision.

Examples of potential policies and measures include reducing transport needs, promotion of public transport, a shift away from transport based on fossil fuels, , support schemes for  retrofitting of the building stock, , more efficient heating and cooling systems, renewable energy for heating and cooling, more climate-friendly farming practices, and conversion of livestock manure to biogas.

The annual European Semester policy coordination exercise helps Member States monitor progress towards meeting their 2020 targets. Moreover, in 2014 the Commission initiated a series of workshops for regional clusters of Member States to develop capacity and to share best practice and ideas on approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Effort Sharing Decision. While the workshop in Sofia covered the sectors buildings and transport, the workshops in Tallinn, Warsaw and Madrid covered the sectors transport and agriculture.

EU-wide measures will help


A number of measures taken at EU level will help Member States to reduce emissions. For example:

  • CO2 emission standards for new cars and vans will cut emissions from road transport;
  • Emission reductions from buildings will be aided by measures to improve the energy performance of buildings, eco-design requirements for energy–related products, and energy labelling systems to inform consumers;
  • Restrictions on fluorinated industrial gases (F-gases) and implementation of other EU environmental policies, e.g. on soil protection and waste, will also contribute to reaching the national targets.

Gases and sources

The Effort Sharing Decision covers the six greenhouse gases controlled by the Kyoto Protocol during its first commitment period (2008-2012): carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

While the Effort Sharing targets cover most sectors that fall outside the scope of the EU ETS, emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and international shipping are not included.