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MEPs improve the proposal for the Effort Sharing Regulation – the Council rather not

What’s the situation?

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted on its position on the Effort Sharing Regulation 30 May, and proposed quite substantial improvements to the original draft by the European Commission. Even while the result could have been even better, our network should be proud: we helped to ensure the most ambitious possible outcome given what was on the table! So what happened?

• We WON a much improved starting point for when emission reductions should be counted from (a linear trajectory starting in 2018 instead of 2020) which will avoid a surplus of emission permits being built up in the beginning of the commitment period.
• We WON a reduction of the ability to offset emissions in the ESR sectors with the help of forests (the LULUCF loophole was reduced from 280 Mt to 190 Mt).
• We WON an inclusion of climate impact of Union funding, which means that funding from the EU Budget must be better aligned with the Paris Agreement goals
• We WON more frequent compliance checks of the implementation of the regulation (every 2 years)
However, not all loopholes were reduced (and a new one was included in the form of an “early action reserve” of 70 Mt). The Committee also did not adopt a robust enough review clause which would allow for Member States’ targets to be raised over time. In other words, we still have work to do! A plenary vote will now take place sometime in June (date still TBD) so our work will still be crucial in the next coming weeks! A more detailed analysis is available online here.

In the Council progress is also being made, but unfortunately not yet in the right direction. No improvements have been made to the Commission’s proposal with regards to the starting level or the size of the loopholes. And as in the Parliament, it has been suggested to include a “safety reserve” of 70 Mt to reward some Member States for “early action” until 2020. Unlike in the Parliament however, the Council want to have this loophole ON TOP of all the others (without reducing them!) and without adjusting the starting point. This is of course unacceptable. We will need to mobilize our forces in the coming weeks to pressure the supposedly ambitious countries to step up against these provisions, while letting the countries calling for this know that it is a betrayal of the Paris Agreement.

What happens in June?
• The Parliament will hold a plenary vote, date TBD
• The Environment Council is set out to agree on its position 19 June

By Caroline Westblom

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