Despite all of the fanfare that went on at the time, it seems that there are currently only 3 European Union countries pursuing climate policies that put them in line with the agreements made at the Paris Climate Change Talks, according to recent reports.
That assertion is the result of a new ranking published by Transport & Environment and by NGO Carbon Market Watch, relating to “the ambition being shown by member states as they negotiate the terms of the EU’s most powerful climate tool, the Effort Sharing Regulation.”
So, the 3 countries that seem to be pursuing policies in line with the agreement (note that the agreement itself isn’t likely enough to avoid extreme climate change, but that’s a different issue)? Sweden, France, and Germany.
The countries that were ranked the worst by this metric? Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Spain, and Italy. (To be fair here, Italy has major problems that likely seem much more immediate than climate change does.)
The countries just above are ranked the way they are “due to their support for accounting tricks such as using a misleading baseline, abusing forestry credits, or exploiting the emission trading system’s huge surplus. One member state, Malta, is not included as no data was available for the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency,” as Transport & Environment put it.
Commenting further, T&E’s transport and energy analyst, Carlos Calvo Ambel, stated: “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.”
Another note: The findings/rankings were created based on “government statements and official documents submitted to the European Commission,” so may not reflect actual eventual actions, but there’s not much else to go on at this point.
With regard to the loopholes in question, some of the primary ones are the use of higher baselines for measuring CO2 emissions reductions and a greater use of forestry credits (tree planting as an offset). Also, 9 member states “want to exploit the ETS’s huge surplus of 100 million allowances, worth an expected €2 billion, to help them meet their emissions obligations on paper.”
Given the problems inherent in the structure of the European Union, I remain very skeptical that many member states will adhere to the pledges made as part of the Paris Climate Change Talks. (This includes the future actions of the 3 countries seemingly pursuing relevant policies. It’s not clear yet what they will actually do.)
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