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Measuring Progress towards Climate Neutrality

1st page of the summary report "Measuring progress towards climate neutrality" with logos, text and infographic

© Ecologic Institute


Measuring Progress towards Climate Neutrality

How net zero indicators can improve planning and reporting in EU climate policy


Duwe, Matthias; Eike Karola Velten, Isabel Haase, Nicolas Berghmans, Nick Evans and Deyana Spasova (2021): Measuring progress towards climate neutrality. Ecologic Institute, Berlin / IDDRI, Paris

Achieving climate neutrality requires structural changes to our economic system, with solutions that work across sectors. Correspondingly, measuring progress and designing policy towards the EU's net zero ambition requires a framework that captures the complexity of the transition and reveals sufficient in-depth information. This report contributes to this discussion by presenting an assessment matrix based on net zero indicators that can measure climate neutrality, and proposes ways to integrate this framework into existing policy processes.

This analysis comes in three parts:

  • The summary document gives an overview of the basic concepts as well as central conclusions.
  • Part I contains the technical proposal for net zero indicators
  • Part II analyses the political integration into EU processes

To download the individual parts, please see 'attachments' at the bottom of the page or click the link above.

The main policy recommendation is this:

The European Commission should lead the development of a methodology to measure progress towards climate neutrality with a dedicated monitoring of structural change indicators. This could then be applied in all relevant processes – of which there are several operating in parallel at present: the EU Climate Law,  Energy Union governance, the 8th Environment Action Programme, European Semester/Recovery process. This exercise should start in 2021 and conclude by mid-2022.

Full use of net zero indicators would require additional actions:

  • An update to the EU Long-Term Strategy as input to setting target values for indicators
  • A revision of the Governance Regulation as part of the overall package for 2030

Presentation online: the insights from this analysis are being discussed with experts from the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU rotating Presidency on 24 June 2021. For more information, click here.

The EU needs to develop a coherent and integrated set of net zero indicators as an assessment framework for climate neutrality.


More content from this project

Published by
4 pp.
Project ID
indicator, net zero, governance, EU LTS, EU Climate Law, Governance Regulation, climate governance, monitoring, NECPs, LTS, 8EAP, 8thEAP, green recovery, European Semester, RFF, scoreboard, progress tracker, European Green Deal
indicator development