Effort Sharing Regulation


Recognising that not all emission reductions can be driven by the market, the EU needs to be more ambitious about cutting emissions in the the non-traded sectors: agriculture, buildings and transport

Sandbag’s aim is to focus our effort on the policies which have the biggest impact in terms of EU climate action.  The Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) is the sister to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), covering the ‘non-traded’ sectors, that is those emissions that are not part of a cap and trade mechanism.

More than half of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the non-traded sectors; covering transport, waste, agriculture and buildings. Unlike the EU ETS, which is a market based mechanism, the ESR is a governance tool, providing an overarching target of reductions for the EU but assigning individual targets to Member States, on the basis of their GDP/capita.

The ESR was introduced in the 2020 Climate and Energy package in 2009.  The European Commission published its proposal for the second phase of the ESR, which will run between 2020-2030, in July 2016 (see Sandbag’s analysis).  This sets out an EU reduction target for these sectors of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Individual Member State targets range from -40% to 0%, creating a wide range of constraints.  The reform process is expected to be completed by early 2018.

Sandbag is working to influence the current reform of the ESR to ensure that it is robust and delivers real emission reductions. Recent reports have focused on:

  • demonstrating that a 30% target by 2030 is not sufficient to deliver the necessary EU emission reductions in the context of the Paris Agreement, and barely goes beyond business as usual
  • developing and proposing solutions that would enable a higher target to be put in place for the EU, at lower cost. In particular, we are calling for a European Project Based mechanism to be developed, and for flexibilities proposed in the ESR, including a link with the EU ETS, to be abandoned.

We work to influence the European Commission, European Parliament and key Member States.

Recent ESR blog posts


ESR deal: EU off-track for 2030 targets

Today, the Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement to reform the Effort Sharing Regulation

ESR reform: Millions of tonnes of CO2 at stake

Two new briefings show how small changes to the Effort Sharing Regulation – currently being debated by the European Institutions – could slow EU greenhouse gas emissions cuts. Hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions are at stake.

Looking for a perfect fit

The Effort Sharing Regulation doesn’t fit emissions – Trialogue needs real reform for a cost-effective climate change policy

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