Next Steps in Setting up EU Progress Monitoring for Climate Neutrality
A review of the European Commission’s assessment of progress towards climate neutrality
Velten, Eike Karola et al. 2024: Next Steps in Setting up EU Progress Monitoring for Climate Neutrality: A review of the European Commission’s assessment of progress towards climate neutrality. European Climate Neutrality Observatory (ECNO).
In October 2023, the European Commission presented its first ever assessment of progress towards climate neutrality – and acknowledged the lack of depth in its current progress monitoring. Not checking the development of enabling conditions for the transition creates the risk that policymakers do not receive sufficiently actionable information to intervene where needed. The existing reporting system already delivers relevant information, but scattered across multiple reports. Now, the Commission’s task is to develop a smart but comprehensive framework, which integrates relevant information on enablers and connects to existing planning and monitoring systems.
This briefing reviews the European Commission's first ever assessment of progress towards the 2050 climate neutrality target. Furthermore, it proposes steps that could be taken in the next two years to improve the system and provide a compass for the path to climate neutrality:
- Expand emissions tracking with enablers: The Commission should develop a comprehensive framework that integrates the tracking of underlying enablers for the transition. The development should seek inputs from expert stakeholders and result in a transparent methodology. The framework could be applied across planning and reporting to reduce administrative burden.
- Get the data right: The Commission can draw on inputs from EU data sources, and integrate with existing EU monitoring systems but there is also an important need to assess current data gaps and improve data collection from Member States. To provide up-to-date benchmarks against which to assess progress, the EU Long-Term Strategy needs a formal update.
- Update progress assessment in 2025: The EU Climate Law demands the next assessment in 2028, which is too late to inform the next package of EU climate policy, for example. The Commission should assess the EU’s progress in 2025 and repeat the exercise every two years instead of every five.
This briefing was written as part of the project ECNO (European Climate Neutrality Observatory). Find more information about the project here.
Find more information about the briefing on the ECNO website.