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EU Policies and Measures on Climate Change


EU Policies and Measures on Climate Change

In the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the EU and its member states committed to an 8% reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions by 2008-2012 compared to 1990. This project investigated the effects of EU regulations and activities that had been implemented or planned by 1998 on the greenhouse gas emissions of the Union.

The study identifies the main fields of political activities of the EU that have an impact on the emissions of greenhouse gases, names the regulations (Directives, Regulations, Decisions) and programmes adopted and planned in those areas and evaluates their relevance for climate policy. Furthermore, the political options and room for manoeuvre as well as the probable implementation opportunities, especially during the German Council Presidency in the first half of 1999 are discussed. In addition to the most important GHG CO2, methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), partially and fully halogenated fluorocarbons (HFCs and PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) are considered in the study. Apart from measures of climate policy aiming directly at a reduction of GHGs, the analysis includes activities which have an indirect impact. The latter are to be found mainly in the policy areas of energy, agriculture and forestry, transportation, the environment and in the promotion of regional development (structural policies) within the EU. The report comes to the conclusion that the implemented climate policy measures of the EU are currently limited to the GHG CO2, focusing on selected aspects of energy policy. Apart from this, several announcements and proposals exist. In case of their implementation, measures taken on the European level could prove sufficient alone to reduce GHG emissions of the EU by 8% until 2008-1012 as envisaged in the Kyoto Protocol. This would strengthen the leadership role of the EU proclaimed internationally. However, it is the implementation of proposed regulations which constitutes the weak point of EU climate policy. A collection of the legislative initiatives with the greatest relevance to climate policy points to the most important areas of activities for an effective EU climate policy.

The German project report is available for download [pdf, 537 kB, German].

Stefani Bär
September 1997 to January 1998
Project ID
EU climate policy, greenhouse gas emisions, policy integration, forest