27 May 2010

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Practical Information

Climate change: Commission invites to an informed debate on the impacts of the move to 30% EU greenhouse gas emissions cut if and when the conditions are met

The The European Commission presented yesterday an analysis of the costs, benefits and options for moving beyond the EU's greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020 from 20% below 1990 levels to 30% once the conditions are met. At present these conditions have not been met. This communication follows the Commission's Communication on "How to reinvigorate international climate negotiations" and the Council's request to present an assessment on the impacts of a conditional move to a 30% emissions cut. The measures taken to support energy-intensive industries against the risk of carbon leakage are also examined as required under the ETS (Emissions Trading System) Directive. The Communication shows that the reduction in EU emissions as a consequence of the economic crisis, together with a drop in carbon prices, has changed the estimations two years ago when the revised ETS was presented. Therefore in light of the new data, an analysis of the implications of the different levels of ambition as a motor for modernising the EU economy and creating new jobs by promoting innovation in low-carbon technologies is provided. This analysis encompasses the efforts required in the main different sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 20%, up to 30%, looking also at the impacts of these efforts and the potential policy options to achieve them. The current context of constrained public finances and economic contraction is also fully taken into account when assessing possible alternatives.

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More: See the Communication and Staff Working Documents at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/future_action_com.htm


EU energy and transport in figures: Pocketbook 2010

The Energy and transport are two crucial sectors of the economy. This publication provides an overview of the most recent and most pertinent annual energy- and transport-related statistics in Europe. It covers the European Union and its 27 Member States and, as far as possible, the current EU candidate countries and the EFTA countries.

The publication consists of four parts:
(1) a general part with general economic and other relevant data;
(2) an energy part with data on energy production, consumption,
taxation and prices;
(3) a transport part covering both passenger and freight transport as
well as other transport-related data; and, finally,
(4) an environmental part with data on the impact which the energy
and transport sectors have on the environment.

Most of the tables have data up to 2007; where available, more recent
data have been provided.

Electronic copies can be downloaded at ENERGY DG's website. Free paper copies of the publication will be available from June 2010 and can be ordered at MOVE-ENER-PUBLICATIONS@ec.europa.eu.



Climate change: Q&A on the Communication Analysis of options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage


What are the objectives of the Communication?

In 2007 the EU made a unilateral commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 20% below 1990 levels. This commitment, together with a 20% renewable energy target for the EU by 2020, was translated into EU legislation through the 'climate and energy package', which was agreed by Council and Parliament at the end of 2008. 

EU leaders in 2007 also made a conditional commitment to scale up the EU's GHG emissions reduction for 2020 from 20% to 30% if other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and economically more advanced developing countries contribute adequately to a global effort according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities.

These conditions have not yet been met and therefore the Communication does not propose that the EU should move to a 30% target now. What the Communication does is provide an analysis of the costs, benefits and options of moving to a 30% reduction for the EU, as seen from today's perspective, taking into account recent developments such as the economic crisis.

The Communication also responds to a request contained in the climate and energy package for the Commission to assess the competitive situation of energy-intensive sectors in the light of the outcome of the December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, and to make any appropriate proposals necessary to address the risk of 'carbon leakage' (relocation of production from the EU to countries with laxer carbon constraints). The GHG emissions of these energy-intensive sectors are regulated through the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS).

What are the key points of the Communication?

Lower costs of meeting the 20% and 30% targets

-       The costs of meeting the 20% GHG reduction target[1] have fallen by one-third. In 2008 the costs in 2020 were estimated at at least €70 billion a year. Now, they are estimated at €48 billion. However, not only costs have decreased - because of the crisis so has the short term capacity of economic operators to invest in low-carbon technologies.

-       The additional costs in 2020 of stepping up from the 20% to the 30% reduction target are estimated at €33 billion a year. The carbon price in the EU ETS in 2020 would increase from €16 per tonne of CO2 under a 20% reduction target to €30. The total costs of a 30% reduction, including the costs of the 20% target, are estimated at €81 billion a year in 2020.

-       The greatest potential for emission reductions is found in the ETS sectors. Under a 30% reduction target, the cap on EU ETS emissions would be set at 34% below the 2005 level instead of at 21% below as now under the 20% target. The emissions reduction from sectors not covered by the EU ETS would be 16% below the 2005 level, rather than the current 10% reduction. 

-       Further efforts in the ETS could be obtained by reducing the amount of allowances for auctioning. A reduction equal to 1.4 billion allowances in the period 2013-2020 could be sufficient. This would increase auctioning revenues for Member States. In addition, businesses that showed themselves to be top performers or fast movers in innovation could be rewarded with extra unallocated free allowances.

-       Geographically, the potential for further emission reductions is proportionally higher in poorer Member States. EU's cohesion policy can be an important instrument to mobilise the necessary public and private finance.

-       CO2 taxes which target fuels or products to reflect their CO2 component can strengthen the incentive to lower emissions and their revenues can be reinvested in the economy to promote green growth and jobs.

-       Achieving a 30% reduction target would reduce imports of oil and gas by some €40 billion a year in 2020.

Going from a 20% to a 30% reduction target would reduce costs related to air pollution by €6.5-11 billion per year.

[1]  Including the costs of achieving the 20% renewable energy target


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