Climate governance

Only a strong governance framework can guarantee further EU emissions reductions and the development of low carbon technologies

A revolution is occurring across the world as emissions are decoupling from economic growth. However, without a strong governance framework, further emissions reductions and the development of low carbon technologies are not guaranteed. Long term and well-structured policy is essential for cost-effective emission reductions.

Following the Paris Agreement, the EU, its Member States and other European countries must do more to strengthen their governance frameworks to ensure that the level of ambition and policy framework to deliver emissions reductions in line with keeping temperature increases well below two degrees.

Within Europe it is possible that the current reforms of the EU ETS and Effort Sharing Regulation will not go far enough to deliver the emission reductions needed to deliver the EU’s 2030 target to reduce emissions by 40%, or put it on the most cost-effective pathway to its 2050 target of a 80-95% reduction in emissions.  The European Commission published a new governance proposal on 30 November 2016.  Sandbag is working with other organisations to examine how these proposals could go further to deliver a European governance framework that will deliver the Paris Agreement.

At Member State level, many countries do not have national action plans or climate change programmes or climate change targets.  In the UK the Climate Change Act and the carbon budgets it provides for, are the key governance instrument.  Sandbag’s founder, Baroness Worthington, was a key architect of Climate Change Act, which sets both a 2050 emissions reduction target, and regular carbon budgets along the way.  The Climate Change Act has been very effective in providing a legal framework for emission reductions, but it is vital that the level of future carbon budgets take into account the Paris Agreement and the ambition of the long term targets reviewed.

Sandbag has worked with the Committee on Climate Change to help them recommend the correct level for the UK’s carbon budgets. In Parliament, our advocacy has focused on closing the loophole in carbon budget accounting which offshores the government’s responsibility to cut emissions to the notoriously weak EU Emissions Trading System.

Our work continues to strengthen climate policy governance across Europe and ensure emissions cuts are cost-effective and permanent.

A notable success to date is winning a new cross-party commitment in the Energy Bill 2016 to legislate for net-zero emissions under the Climate Change Act.

Recent Climate Governance Reports


Recent Climate Governance blog posts


The UK Climate Change Act: standing strong in a time of change

The UK Climate Change Act was a world first. Now it is being subjected to a major test: the UK seeking to leave the EU, which governs a substantial proportion of UK emissions reduction policies....
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Brussels cuts the hot air – Green Growth and the ETS reform

It’s been an exciting week so far in Brussels. On Monday I was at the fifth Green Growth Summit, admirably organised by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. An impressive line-up...
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UK targets Net Zero emissions, but carbon accounting flaws remain

Last night, the government agreed to a new long-term target of net zero emissions, making the UK government the first to nationally implement the global netzero goal enshrined in the Paris...
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