Most EU countries set to miss Paris Agreement goals, while Sweden leads

Created: March 28, 2017. Updated: March 12, 2018.

Only three European countries are on course to achieve the Paris Agreement targets, according to research.

Italy is among several countries languishing at the bottom of the table for alleged attempts to weaken the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR)

A study by the Transport & Environment (T&E) and Carbon Market Watch has examines the advance of each European Union (EU) Government towards the EU’s largest climate law, the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR).

The ESR law sets binding 2021-2030 national emission reduction targets for sectors not covered in the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), including transport, buildings, agriculture and waste. 

Topping the table is Sweden, scoring highly due to its plans to achieve much higher domestic emission reductions than its 40% proposed by the Commission. Germany and France are the only other countries pushing in the right direction to deliver on Paris, the research shows.

Carbon Market Watch EU policy director Femke De Jong said: “EU politicians portraying themselves as climate leaders should put their money where their mouth is by closing loopholes in the EU’s key climate law and pushing for more ambition. Only with determined climate action will lawmakers ensure that European citizens can enjoy the significant benefits of a decarbonised society, such as clean air.” 

T&E transport and energy analyst Carlos Calvo Ambel said: “This is the most important climate law that will enable Europe to deliver on the Paris agreement. But the great majority of countries want to rig the law with loopholes so they can continue business as usual. Either Europe follows the lead of Sweden, Germany and France, which are going in the right direction though not far enough, or we should forget about our climate leadership.”

Though Europe’s installed wind power capacity now standing at 153.7GW, it is still a relatively small fraction of the region’s 918.8GW of total power capacity. The industry is hoping much of its growth will come from filling the gap as governments force old coal power plants to close to meet climate change goals, as the UK has committed to doing by 2025.

Germany and Poland are the largest perpetrators – they are jointly responsible for 51% of installed coal capacity and 54% of emissions from coal. Research suggests that the last European coal plant must be closed by 2030 if the continent is to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Further information