Digital Advocacy Consultancy | making a difference

How the EU pretends to be implementing the Paris Agreement

EU Commission uses outdated climate targets in new report*

On 8 November 2016, the European Commission informed the European Parliament and the Council of the EU about the progress of the EU towards the ‘at least -40% domestic greenhouse gas emissions versus 1990’ target as agreed in EU’s 2030 Climate & Energy Policy Framework.

The communication ‘Implementing the Paris Agreement – Progress of the EU towards the at least -40% target’ and its annex were uploaded this weekend (11-13 November).


  1. General overview (p4)
  2. Acting Domestically and Internationally through Climate Finance (p8)
  3. Mitigating EU Emissions (p11)
  4. Adaptating to Climate Change (p15)
  5. Participating in international Climate Policy (p16)
  6. Sharing experience (p17)


The title of this report is misleading. This report is not about “implementing” the Paris Agreement as adopted on 12 December 2015. It is about implementing EU’s 2030 Climate & Energy Policy Framework as agreed on 23-23 October 2014. Yes, you’re reading this correctly: the European Commission presents the outdated 2030 Framework as the Paris Agreement. And even though all elements of the outdated 2030 Framework are currently under review, it has no intention of aligning it with the Paris Agreement before 2020, if not 2023. Let that sink in.

Realistic baseline

‘According to Member States’ projections based on existing measures, in 2030, the total EU emissions are estimated to be 26 % below 1990 levels.’ (page 5) And as figure 1 (see above) shows: in 2015, total EU emissions are projected to be 22% below 1990 levels. So we were already overshooting our targets for 2020 in 2015.

Now unless the EU plans to sit on its laurels for 5 years, that means the 2030 policy trajectory (the green line in figure 1) should not start at -20% but at -26% below 1990 levels. Here, the EU has a wonderful opportunity to regain climate leadership by increasing its climate ambition. Knowing we have only 3 years to stay below 1.5°C warming, EU has the moral obligation to start its 2030 trajectory from a realistic baseline – not the one we already overshoot 5 years before.

*Update: the draft documents of the upcoming Energy Union Package (30 November 2016) are not looking good at all either! Is the EU going for a lost decade on energy and climate?! 


You can find the communication here and its annex here. (The annex has a really nice overview of climate targets on page 6-8.) If this blog is the first place where you saw these documents, then please use the original source when sharing them, that is: this blog. Many thanks!

climateCOP21COP22emissionsenergyenergy efficiencyEU Energy UnionParis Agreementrenewables

@StollmeyerEU • 13th November 2016

Previous Post

Next Post