A Look Under the Emission Curve: Setting up a Net Zero Scoreboard
Testing a progress measurement framework on a sample of indicators
Schöberlein, Paula; Haase, Isabel & Velten, Eike Karola (2023): A look under the emission curve: setting up a net zero scoreboard. Testing a progress measurement framework on a sample of indicators. Ecologic Institute, Berlin
Achieving climate neutrality by 2050, as enshrined in the EU Climate Law, is an unprecedented challenge that requires significant transformation across sectors. To monitor progress towards this goal, the Commission has the legal obligation to assess the collective progress of EU Member States regularly. However, there is uncertainty about the scope of the Commission's assessment due by September 2023, with a risk that it will rely solely on climate and energy headline indicators.
Yet, indicators measuring progress towards climate neutrality must address the often structural, sectoral, and cross-sectoral changes implied by the transition, covering both the economic and social dimensions. An incomplete first attempt to monitor progress could cause hard-to-reverse challenges to the transition at large, failing to identify lack of progress or inappropriate decisions in critical areas.
To address this, Ecologic Institute developed this working document, testing an indicator framework for assessing the progress to climate neutrality by 2050. The applied concept was created in the past project "Implementing the European Green Deal" which identified eleven sectoral and cross-sectoral fields of action – termed 'net zero elements' – that are crucial for the transition to net zero.
The document offers a glimpse at areas where developments are currently headed in the right direction or lagging behind. While it does not yet provide a comprehensive assessment to determine if the EU is on track towards climate neutrality, it aims to complement discussions on what a meaningful indicator set might look like and how it could be utilized to check EU progress towards climate neutrality.