Climate Action

Implementation of the Effort Sharing Decision


The Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) sets national emission targets for Member States for each year between 2013 and 2020 in the sectors of the economy not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System. To ensure that compliance with these targets is assessed in a credible, consistent, transparent and timely manner, a Union review of Member States' greenhouse gas inventories takes place every year. The review is carried out by the technical expert review team contracted by the Commission, and coordinated by a secretariat at the European Environment Agency. The final review reports can be found in the Documentation section.

The Documentation section also contains for each year a Commission Implementing Decision, in which the final ESD emissions per Member State are determined, after taking into consideration the technical corrections and revised estimates calculated during the review. After the publication of this Decision in the Official Journal, Member States have four months for applying flexibilities under Articles 3 and 5 of the ESD (borrowing or buying allocations/international project credits) to ensure annual compliance with their ESD targets.

Member States' compliance with annual targets under ESD

Whereas it is the responsibility of Member States to define and implement national policies and measures to limit emissions from the Effort Sharing sectors, it is for the Commission to enforce Member States' compliance with the ESD. So far the Commission has checked compliance with ESD targets for the year 2013 (The compliance checks have been delayed by one year because in spring 2015 Member States could not report their 2013 emissions, as the reporting software provided by the UNFCCC Secretariat was malfunctioning). All 28 Member States complied with their 2013 ESD targets: 27 Member States managed to limit their emissions domestically, while one Member State covered its surplus emissions by a purchase of units from another Member State that had overachieved its emission target for the year 2013 (see details). No CDM/JI credits have been used for compliance with ESD. Information on compliance and the use of flexibilities by Member States is updated daily at the EUTL public website.

The Commission also assesses progress made by the Member States toward their ESD targets, in the annual progress report published every autumn. Moreover, in 2014 the Commission organized 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 (see presentations at the Documentation section).

2016 evaluation of the ESD

In July 2016, the Commission presented an evaluation of the implementation of the legislation up to 2015. The evaluation concluded that:

  • While still in the early stages of implementation, commitments under the Effort Sharing Decision have contributed to stimulating new national policies and measures promoting effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. A number of policies which were part of the 2020 climate and energy package, in particular on energy efficiency and renewable energy, also reduced emissions.
  • Sectors covered by the Effort Sharing Decision(click image to enlarge)
    The EU is on track to over achieve its 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10% compared to 2005 in the sectors covered by the legislation. Total emissions in these sectors in 2013 were 9.7% below 2005 levels. In 2014, they were 13% lower than in 2005. Total emission reductions between 2005 and 2013 were achieved in all sectors, ranging from -3 % in agriculture to -25 % in the waste sector. (click on the figure to enlarge it) For several sectors including buildings, transport, agriculture and waste, a significant part of the emissions reductions to date can be attributed to factors such as technological changes influenced by policy interventions resulting from the 2020 package. As well as EU-wide and national climate and energy policies, the economic crisis and growth in economic activity in some countries have also had an impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Overall, the ESD has resulted in Member States becoming more active in considering new measures to reduce emissions in its sectors, how to best design the measures, as well as in improved coordination between national, regional and local governments. The ESD has resulted in limited additional administrative burden at Member State level, although there may be opportunities to reduce administrative costs, for example by simplified and less frequent compliance checks.

More details can be found in the Report on evaluating the implementation of the ESD and in the accompanying Staff Working Document.

The results of the evaluation were used when preparing the proposal for continuing effort sharing legislation from 2021 to 2030.


Member States' ESD emissions


Evaluation of ESD implementation