Today EU Environment Ministers have reached an agreement on the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), which is meant to be one of the EU’s key tools to implement the Paris Agreement.
Diluted to the point of being almost meaningless, the new law as agreed by the ministers would fail to provide a serious constraint for carbon pollution from transport, agriculture, waste and buildings. Thus, it would have an extremely limited impact on the climate.
Commenting on the Council’s position on the Effort Sharing Regulation, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“After this decision all the boast of Europe’s commitment to the Paris Agreement rings hollow. By putting forward such a weak proposal, EU governments turned their back on the Paris Agreement. The law needs to be significantly improved in the following negotiations with the European Parliament.”
The ministers failed to acknowledge that both the -30% EU-wide target and all the national targets are too low to limit temperature rise well below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Instead, they agreed to include numerous loopholes that would lower the already weak -30% target to a mere -23%. This is very close to the reductions projected to be achieved even without setting 2030 targets.
The ministers neglected the European Parliament’s decision to align the starting point for emission reductions with real emission levels, included in its position adopted in June.
A new loophole that allows a carry-over of some unused pollution permits from the past was introduced and increased to 115 Mt CO2e in a last minute attempt to weaken the deal even further.
The German proposal to slightly adjust the starting point, which would save around 100 MT CO2 emissions by ensuring that laggards cannot avoid meeting their binding 2020 targets was not included in the agreement. Trio added:
“Rejecting the only proposal to ensure laggards will not be rewarded for failing to meet their binding targets for 2020 puts the EU’s ability to design credible climate policies in serious doubt.”
The revision of the ESR will now be negotiated in trialogue meetings between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator, email@example.com, +32 494 525 738
 More detailed information in CAN Europe's media advisory ahead of the Council http://www.caneurope.org/publications/press-releases/1481-eu-governments-face-a-litmus-test-for-paris-agreement-commitment