Assessments Supporting EU Progress towards Climate Neutrality
Pieces of analysis on the functioning and fitness of EU climate policy for a net-zero future.
Reaching climate neutrality by 2050 in the EU requires strong policy making and monitoring to ensure all areas of the European economy get and remain on track. Additionally, EU climate governance must ensure cohesion between EU Member States' short-term actions and the overarching long-term goal. Over two years (2021-2022) Ecologic Institute completed several related research projects on the functioning and fitness of EU climate policy for a net-zero future.
The main pieces of analytical work included:
- Follow-up and proof of concept for a net zero monitoring framework: In previous project work, Ecologic Institute developed a technical monitoring framework for an indicator-based assessment of progress towards net zero in the EU as well as policy recommendations for its use by EU institutions. This project expanded on this previous work by producing a Net Zero Scoreboard as proof of concept, road testing a select group of indicators, as well as a technical workshop on progress monitoring for net zero.
- Input to discussions on the EU policy consistency assessments under the EU Climate Law: The EU Climate Law requires the European Commission to assess Union and national measures for their consistency with the headline climate neutrality target, starting in September 2023 and every five years thereafter. In collaboration with WWF EPO and E3G, Ecologic Institute produced a policy paper on what policy consistency means and how to measure and took part in a series of workshops that brought together decision makers, researchers, and civil society to discuss policy consistency in general and under different sectors of the economy, such as transport, agriculture/LULUCF, and buildings.
- Climate framework laws info-matrix, memo, and deep dives: Climate framework laws are spreading across Europe both at a national level and at EU-level with the adoption of the EU Climate Law in 2021. These legislative instruments set an overarching framework for climate actions, including legally binding targets and the institutions and processes needed to achieve them. To document the variety of approaches and recent developments in legislation, Ecologic Institute produced an online resource called the Climate Framework Laws Info-Matrix, with an accompanying memo. The resource was presented at special deep dive sessions on climate laws within the context of the ECF Governance Hub dialogues.
- Comprehensive assessment of national long-term strategies (LTSs) in the EU: The Governance Regulation requires Member States to produce a national LTS aimed at the year 2050. The regulation stipulates coherence between the policies and actions outlined in the countries’ national energy and climate strategies (NECPs), and pathways and long-term ambition presented in the LTSs. In the course of this project, Ecologic Institute assessed Member States' LTSs with the aim to provide a source of information that will help to improve long-term planning towards climate neutrality at national and EU level. Insights from the analysis were published in a full report in September 2022.
- Carbon Dioxide Removal strategy scoping paper and outreach: Despite the importance of carbon dioxide removals (CDR), scenarios and the discussions around them are often silent on the politics of how to generate CDRs at such scale. This work intended to help frame the debate and to advance the exchange between the different groups relevant for the adoption of an EU removal strategy. A scoping paper focused on the intended outcome of this activity, the in-depth discussion and possible adoption of an EU removal strategy, including initial thoughts on political strategy and feasibility.
Further supportive and follow-up pieces of work included:
- Ecologic Institute's continued engagement with ECF's LOTUS and Governance Hub initiatives: These dialogue networks hosted by ECF aimed to offer an integrated perspective on EU climate governance across the various political processes. Ecologic was involved as a theme lead, organizing sessions on climate planning and laws.
- Further analysis and outreach for a European Climate Neutrality Observatory (ECNO): This work expanded on a previous scoping project by Ecologic Institute on the creation of such an institution that commenced in 2021 - including further stakeholder interviews and analysis and outreach for the creation of a research consortium to implement the concept.
- Launch event and outreach on an indicator-based net zero monitoring framework: As part of the previous Implementing the European Green Deal project, Ecologic Institute produced an assessment matrix based on net zero indicators to measure progress towards climate neutrality and proposed policy recommendations. In June 2021, researchers organized a launch event for the previous project and engaged in outreach with European Commission officials, partner organizations and other stakeholders.