Climate Action

Emissions monitoring & reporting

Policy

As parties to the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, the EU and its member countries are required to report to the UN:

  • annually on their greenhouse gas emissions ('greenhouse gas inventories');
  • regularly on their climate policies and measures and progress towards the targets ('biennial reports' and 'national communications').

Annual reporting

All EU countries are required to monitor their emissions under the EU's Climate Monitoring Mechanism, which sets the EU's own internal reporting rules on the basis of internationally agreed obligations.

The reporting covers:

  • emissions of seven greenhouse gases (the greenhouse gas inventory) from all sectors: energy, industrial processes, land use, land use change & forestry (LULUCF), waste, agriculture, etc.
  • projections, policies & measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions
  • national measures to adapt to climate change
  • low-carbon development strategies
  • financial & technical support to developing countries, and similar commitments
  • national governments' use of revenues from the auctioning of allowances in the EU emissions trading system (they have committed to spend at least half of these revenues on climate measures in the EU and abroad)

Climate Monitoring Mechanism: legislation

Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action

The Regulation on the Governance updates the Climate Monitoring Mechanism, synchronises and brings it in line with the transparency requirements of the Paris Agreement, and makes it fit for tracking progress with the 2030 climate and energy legislation, while reducing administrative burden. It also requires Member States to prepare long-term strategies.

The Climate Monitoring Mechanism Regulation is the relevant framework until 1 January 2021. From then onwards, it is repealed and replaced by the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action.

Greenhouse gas emissions inventories

The EU's greenhouse gas emissions inventory is prepared by the European Commission, closely assisted by the European Environment Agency each spring.

The period covered by the inventory starts in the base year (mostly 1990) and runs up until 2 years before the current year (e.g. in 2020 the inventories cover emissions up to 2018).

The EU inventory is a compilation of national inventories, based on the emissions reported under the EU Climate Monitoring Mechanism.

Early emission estimates

The first glimpse on emissions of the previous year comes from the early estimates of CO2 emissions from energy use, published by Eurostat around April/May. Those estimates cover only one gas and one sector though.

To get more complete data, EU Member States also report annually an approximated inventory, containing early estimates of total emissions for the previous year, which is normally published in the autumn.

Progress reports on climate action

Under the Climate Monitoring Mechanism, the Commission is also required to produce an annual report on progress to Kyoto and EU targets for the EU, covering actual (historic) emissions and projected future emissions for every country. It also includes information on EU policies and measures, climate finance and adaptation.

At the same time – every autumn – the European Environment Agency also publishes a more detailed report on emissions trends and projections.

Regular reporting to the UNFCCC

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed countries are required to make "national communications" to the UN every 4 years, with data on:

  • emissions and removals
  • policies and measures to reduce emissions
  • provision of financial, technological and capacity building support
  • other activities undertaken to implement the Convention

Since 2014, they are also required to make a report every 2 years ('biennial report'), to enhance reporting on mitigation targets and the provision of support in national communications.

2019 - Fourth Biennial Report from the European Union under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

  • Part 1 - Commission Document C(2019)8832 final
  • Part 2 - Commission Staff Working Document SWD(2019)432 final

2017 - Seventh National Communication and Third Biennial Report from the European Union under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

  • 2017 - Third biennial report - Commission Staff Working Document
  • 2017 - Seventh National Communication - Commission Staff Working Document
Documentation

Monitoring mechanism

Monitoring mechanism regulation

Legislative history

Other documents

Greenhouse gas inventories

Climate action progress reports

National Communications and Biennial Reports to the UNFCCC

  • 2019 - Fourth Biennial Report from the European Union under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

    • Part 1 - Commission Document C(2019)8832 final
    • Part 2 - Commission Staff Working Document SWD(2019)432 final

 EU registry

 Other useful documents

Studies

Studies

Links

Useful links