The European Parliament and the Council have agreed on establishing stricter regulations for greenhouse gas emissions in member states, including less flexibility and more transparency. As the UN COP27 climate conference was held in Egypt, the Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional agreement on Tuesday, 8th November, on a revision of the effort-sharing regulation (ESR), which sets binding annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions for EU member states and currently regulates roughly 60% of EU emissions.

Negotiators agreed to increase the mandatory GHG reduction 2030-target at the EU level from 30% to 40% compared to 1990-levels. For the first time, all EU countries must now reduce GHG emissions with targets ranging between 10-50%. The targets for each member state are based on GDP per capita and cost-effectiveness.

Timeline for member states’ targets

To reach these more ambitious national reduction targets, each member state will have to ensure every year that they do not exceed their annual GHG emission allocation. These are defined by a linear trajectory ending in 2030 and starting:

– for 2021-2022, the annual emission allocations currently in force apply;

– for 2023-2025, in 2022 on the annual GHG emission allocation for that member state in 2022;

– for 2026-2030, on nine-twelfth between 2023 and 2024 on the average of its GHG emissions during the years 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Flexibility for member states

In the deal, a balance has been struck between the need for flexibility for EU countries to achieve their targets while ensuring a just and socially fair transition for all and the need to close loopholes, so the EU Climate Law is not undermined. This was achieved by restricting the possibilities to transfer, borrow and save emission allocations compared to the Council’s position, as follows:

  • Transferring allocations: the possibility for member states to trade allocations with other member states will be limited to 10% of the allocations for 2021-2025. For 2026-2030 the maximum is 15%. Any proceeds from such trading should be allocated to climate action.
  • Borrowing allocations: member states can in 2021-2025 borrow maximum 7.5% of the allocations from the following year to be used in years where emissions are higher than the annual limit. For 2026-2030 the maximum is 5%.
  • Banking allocations: in years where emissions are lower, member states will be able to save emissions for the following year. 75% of the annual emission allocation in 2021 can be saved and used later. For 2022-2029 the figure would be 25%.
  • Reserve: the so-called additional reserve will not be introduced.

ERTICO – ITS Europe is committed to addressing climate challenges and the related work to decarbonising transportation and increasing effective road transport, road networks, tunnels and bridges, and the associated services to ensure the sustainable mobility of people and goods. In the leading up to this year’s COP27 event, ERTICO joined several like-minded organisations dedicated to reaffirming the commitment to effectively reduce CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. “The sector of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) is taking a holistic approach towards mobility and invests time and effort in innovation and technology when and where these can provide solutions. Coupled with political will and citizen awareness, we can all work towards turning challenges into opportunities for a more sustainable future. ITS is the key enabler for this change”, says Dr Angelos Amditis, Chairman at ERTICO. Access the Joint Statement.