European Union (EU) European Union (EU)

The European Union (EU) drops six places to 22nd in this year’s CCPI.

The EU receives medium ratings for all four CCPI categories: GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy, Energy Use, and Climate Policy.

The CCPI experts regard the EU as having a strong package of policy and legislative approaches to climate and energy, across a range of emitting sectors, such as transport, buildings, and energy. Discussions are also underway on strengthening land use, forestry, and agriculture policies, and on improving the Emissions Trading System. Promotion of renewable energy has led to a rising share of renewables in total primary energy supply, along with policies to reduce overall energy demand. The absence of phase-out dates for the use of fossil fuels (especially coal and gas), however, are problematic. Neither the current renewables share nor the 2030 renewable energy target are in line with a Paris Agreement-compatible trajectory (with respective ratings of low and medium for these indicators in this year’s CCPI).

The EU increased its Nationally Determined Contribution to a domestic net emissions reduction target of at least 55%, up from at least 40%. Though this is not yet compatible with a Paris Agreement-compatible trajectory pathway, it does reflect the EU’s substantial effort to deal with its emissions gap. Proposed reforms under the ‘Fit for 55’ policy package, to ensure a 55% emissions reduction by 2030, will be important for addressing this misalignment and for achieving the 2050 climate neutrality target. They will also be important towards increasing renewables and reducing energy use. The experts view the EU’s climate diplomacy as insufficient, although the EU is seen as one of the key actors for effective international climate policy (rated medium in this indicator). Re-engaging on the international stage should be a priority for the EU, especially in the COP process and the former High Ambition Coalition, with EU international diplomacy of particular importance to the roles of China and the US. The lack of ownership and implementation in the member states can explain the six-place drop for the EU.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Sam Van den Plas (Carbon Market Watch); Dora Petroula, Klaus Rohrig (Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage. The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES. For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.