Regions and cities are key partners in the transition to a low-carbon economy  
   
2/1/2017

​Members of the CoR's Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs today unanimously backed the draft opinion on Legislative proposals for a new Effort Sharing Decision and on Land-use, Land-use-change and Forestry (LULUCF) in the context of implementing the EU 2030 climate goals by PES member Juri Gotmans, Mayor of Haanja Municipality (Estonia).

"The Paris agreement has created great momentum for a dynamic EU climate policy. Cities and regions play a decisive role both in promoting and implementing ambitious measures, and should therefore be recognised as key partners in the transition to a low-carbon economy", the rapporteur told ENVE members.

His draft opinion responds to a European Commission package of measures, published in July 2016, which includes two main elements: Firstly, the Effort Sharing Regulation, which sets out the contribution (in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions) which each EU Member State has to make, based on its size and wealth, in order to reach the overall reduction targets for the period 2021–2030 in sectors not regulated under the EU Emissions Trading System (such as buildings, agriculture, waste management, and transport). The proposals aim to ensure that all Member States adopt the right measures to reach their individual targets and use different flexibility mechanisms to reduce the economic burden of achieving these targets. Secondly, the LULUCF proposal, which aims to include greenhouse gas emissions and removals from agriculture and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework.

While generally welcoming the European Commission proposals, Mr Gotmans makes a series of concrete suggestions for changes to the legislation, focusing on the role of local and regional authorities and on striking the right balance between flexibility and ambitious measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including:

  • Highlighting the role of cities and regions in collecting the data needed to establish the greenhouse gas emissions inventory in sectors covered by the LULUCF and Effort Sharing Regulations, as well as raising citizen's awareness about climate change;
  • Stressing the need to take account of regional and local factors in the LULUCF proposal and when it comes to determining flexibility rules;
  • Making the necessary financial instruments aimed at better implementing sustainable measures available to regions and cities;
  • Strengthening the role of the European Environment Agency in the system of annual reporting, and evaluating of greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Calling for the introduction of interim compliance checks every five years as an effective way of ensuring that emission reduction targets are being met.

The draft opinion is scheduled to be adopted at the March CoR plenary session.

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