23 March 2017
Regions and cities are key partners in the transition to a low-carbon economy

Regions and cities are key partners in the transition to a low-carbon economy

Plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions

CoR members gave today their unanimous support to 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).

"This legislation is an important part of reaching the goals we set ourselves in the Paris agreement, and local and regional expertise has to be taken into account to ensure a smooth implementation", the rapporteur stressed.

His draft opinion replies to two legislative proposals, namely the Effort Sharing Regulation (which sets out the contribution, in terms of CO2 emission reduction, which each EU Member State has to make based on its size and wealth) and the proposal on how to include greenhouse gas emissions and removals from agriculture and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework (so-called 'LULUCF'). 

These two pieces of legislation are important building blocks in order to reach the overall reduction targets for the 2021–2030 period. The effort sharing decision covers the sectors that are not regulated by the EU Emissions Trading System, such as buildings, agriculture, waste management and transport, in which local and regional authorities have key responsibilities. 

Mayor Gotmans makes​​​ a series of concrete suggestions for changes to the legislation, focusing on the role of local and regional authorities and seeking to clarify certain elements of the balance between flexibility and ambitions 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, and suggesting the coordination of any new methodologies to be developed under these proposals with the experiences already gathered in the context of the Covenant of Mayors with its own distinct methodology of measuring emissions;
  • calling for the appropriate financial instruments necessary for implementing sustainable climate change measures to be better accessible to regions and cities and to ensure that regions which are highly dependent on fossil fuels in particular receive targeted support for their transition to sustainability;
  • highlighting that the relevant indicators and methodologies need to be sensitive to local and regional specificities and that they should be formally consulted for instance on annual forestry accounting plans; 
  • strengthening the role of the European Environment Agency in the system of annual reporting, and evaluating greenhouse gas emissions.

CoR members in the plenary rejected attempts by the ECR group to weaken the commitment to binding targets on greenhouse gas emission reductions and supported a number of other amendments reinforcing the opinion's message.​