Oversupply of pollution certificates leads to declining EU ETS revenues in 2016

  • How many EU emissions allowances were auctioned in 2016, and what were they worth?

  • How much of the money raised from ETS auctions was spent on  climate change projects?

  • How much of the money is used domestically or for projects abroad?

  • How does your government spend its ETS revenues - on research, sustainable transport, energy efficiency or something else?

You’ll find all of these answers by using the MaxiMiseR ETS revenue tool.

The 2016 figures from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) are yet more proof that the system is rewarding polluters at the expense of the climate. They show that far more emissions allowances were auctioned on the ETS in 2016 than in 2015 - 700 million compared to 630 million. Because there were so many surplus allowances, the price went down, meaning overall revenues dropped by more than 20%. The proportion  of the auctioning revenues spent on climate action remained the same at 85%, therefore the amount spent on climate decreased by more than EUR 900 million from 2015 to 2016.

A new report published by CAN Europe shows that emissions allowances to the tune of EUR 143 billion were given away for free by the EU in the period between 2008-2015. This amount is predicted to rise further to an estimated EUR 380 billion by the year 2030. Auctioning of these emission allowances instead of handing them out for free would help cut emissions and ensure the EU’s “polluter pays” principle is respected.

The MaxiMiseR EU ETS revenue tool was developed with the Ecologic Institute to help show how ETS revenues could be used to finance climate action and long-term climate planning. With the latest data update, you can now compare more than 30 variables over a period of four years (2013-2016).   

Key 2016 figures:

  • Over 95% of auctioning revenues spent on climate action are used for domestic projects

  • 30% of domestic spending goes towards renewable energy projects in 14 countries

  • Using ETS auctioning revenues to provide international climate finance receives relatively little attention, with only EUR 134 million dedicated to support developing countries

Figure 1: Revenues used for domestic action - renewable energy 2016

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If you are curious as to how revenues relating to renewable energy have developed over the years, just change the format on how your data is displayed and you can choose up to five countries to compare over the four years as shown in figure two. For instance, you’ll see that the UK was leading investments in this field in 2015, but was overtaken by Spain in 2016. The MaxiMiseR EU ETS revenue tool is the most comprehensive and detailed way to have easy access to EU ETS Member States’ revenues and spending habits.

Figure 2: Revenues used for domestic action - renewable energy 2013 - 2016

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To know more about MaxiMiseR’s work on EU ETS reform, including recommendations to increase the size and improve the use of auctioning revenues for the climate check out , “Smart Cash for the Climate: Maximising ETS revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System” which was published by the Ecologic Institute and MaxiMiseR in 2016.

WWF & IIGCC Webinar: Making money meaningful: investors and long-term climate planning


WWF MaxiMiseR and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) are pleased to invite you to join our webinar, Making money meaningful: investors and long-term climate planning, on Thursday, April 26th from 15:00 - 16:15 (CEST).

This webinar explores how investors can participate in dialogue with policy makers in long-term climate strategy development, and highlights the benefits resulting from this dialogue, to policy makers and investors alike, through examples and experience.
You, as participants, will also have the chance to share your thoughts and experiences on investors, long-term planning and to hear from other well informed participants.

There will be 4 short presentations followed by a Q&A.


  • Frédéric Simon, Euractiv 


  • Adam White, Senior Project Coordinator, WWF European Policy Office

What are long term climate strategies and why do they matter?

  • Jan Vandermosten, Sustainable Finance Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office

Aligning Investment Portfolios with the  Paris Agreement - a climate guide for asset owners

  • Rachel Ward, Head of Policy, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC)

Why climate policy matters to investors – how good policy unlocks low-carbon investment

  • Tatiana Bosteels, Director - RPI & Sustainability, Hermes Investment Management

The investor view: engaging on long-term climate policy

We hope you can make it!

Join the discussion via your laptop, phone, iPad, from anywhere you want. Registration is now open - you will need to register to receive the dial-in details for this webinar.

This webinar has been organised by the WWF European Policy Office’s MaxiMiseR project (which is funded by the EU LIFE programme and the MAVA Foundation) and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).

Cities and Regions: Powering Europe towards a zero-carbon future

National, regional and local governments working for long term climate plans

Cities and regions worldwide are taking a leading role in the fight against climate change. Their engagement makes sense - cities already produce 70% of global CO2 emissions, and their populations are expected to double by 2050. Over the same period $350 trillion of infrastructure investments will go into cities.  In addition, cities and regions  are often first to be hit by climate change and have had to find new ways of adapting. It can often be quicker for them to take a decision and act on it than for the heavier bureaucracy of  national government.

However, climate change must be tackled at all levels. It is therefore critical for national governments to learn from, and work with local and regional governments in climate planning.

The Maximiser project has focused to-date on national long term strategies for climate. It has found that only 13 out of the 28 Member States have a long term climate strategy.


On  30 January our Maximiser roundtable took a closer look at how the EU and national governments can work with regions and cities in 2050 strategy development and implementation.

We  have showcased what cities and regions are doing to tackle climate change and considered what those cities and regions can contribute to the national climate planning process.

Tula Ekengren, Regional Developer, Region Västra Götaland, Sweden highlighted the importance of a large scale consultation process involving all potential stakeholders, before drawing up a regional climate strategy. In Västra Götaland, this process led to more than 100 organisations, together with the regional government, pledging to be 100% fossil free by 2030.

Adam White, Senior Research Coordinator, WWF European Policy Office added,  “particularly important are consultations and participative processes on the local level. Cities and regions are closer to their constituents and can engage with them directly to find solutions that improve their quality of life, whilst also reducing their impact on the environment”.  

The MaxiMiseR project just recently published an update of its guidance report “Planning to succeed ”, which lists 10 essential elements for a successful long-term strategy, as well as a comprehensive list of literature published on that subject.

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Paul Davies, Head of the Bristol (UK) Brussels Office, pointed out that Bristol has a long standing track record of fighting climate change. After winning “ the European Green Capital award in 2015, Bristol stepped up its ambitions and decided to become carbon neutral and run on green energy by 2050. An essential feature of the Green Capital programme, is one of the biggest ever municipal investments into energy efficiency, but the programme also focuses on social aspects, such as fuel poverty”.

Dina Silina, Adaptation, DG Climate Action gave an overview of how and where the European Commission is working closely with regions and cities through platforms, such as the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.   

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office, concluded that “there are many great initiatives going on at the regional and communal level. A major step forward is strengthening bottom- up approaches, but at the same time, the European Commission needs to show their ambition and deliver an updated 2050 roadmap. The question that remains to be answered is, are all government levels interconnected well enough?”

For information on upcoming MaxiMiseR events, contact Leia: lachampong@wwf.eu

The Czech Republic steps up to the UNFCCC plate and delivers its long term climate strategy ahead of many others


Where are we? Where do we need to be? How do we get there?

So far, seven countries have submitted Long Term Strategies (LTS) to the UNFCCC.  We need to be on track to a 1.5C world, and in order to do that, countries need to outline their long-term plans for reducing emissions.

And that’s exactly what happened on the 15th of January 2018, when the Czech Republic joined a small circle of countries (France, Benin, United States, Mexico, Germany and Canada) in submitting its LTS to the UNFCCC secretariat. In doing so, the Czech Republic sent a clear message that it’s thinking about what its long, mid and short term contributions to the global effort to reduce emissions should be.

Based on the WWF MaxiMiseR evaluation of EU Member State’s long-term climate and energy strategies, the strategy submitted by the Czech Republic scores well on public transparency and sets short and long-term emission reductions goals. It is among a group of seven EU countries  we found to be in line with the pre-Paris Agreement EU goal of 80-95% cuts by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, and helpfully references funding sources needed for implementation.

However, our analysis shows that there is plenty of room for the Czech Republic to improve in many areas, such as on ambition and political commitment . That’s why their long-term strategy only came eighth out of thirteen in the WWF MaxiMiseR project’s quality ranking of EU Member States’ Long Term Strategies.  

WWF MaxiMiseR’s overall findings from the repeated  evaluation of long-term strategies delivered by Member States in the EU in October 2017, weren’t particularly heartening. Compared to the eleven 2050 strategies we found in our earlier assessment  - based on submissions from Member States in 2015 - there were  only thirteen strategies as of October 2017.  Of note is that Ireland had published its national mitigation plan, the UK and Germany had delivered new strategies to replace earlier ones, and the Czech Republic and Estonia had both delivered 2050 strategies for the first time in 2017. Disappointingly, the range in quality of the strategies was still as great as it was in our first evaluation - and points to an obvious lack of guidance from the EU on what these strategies should contain, - despite WWF MaxiMiseR producing a guidance report with 10 essential elements for building a successful Long Term Strategy.

Whilst we know that more and more countries are developing LTS ahead of 2020, seven countries just two years in advance of 2020 isn’t nearly enough of a show of commitment. Countries must follow the lead of these seven countries and outline their plans for reducing emissions in the short, mid and long-term. Fingers crossed for the vote of the European Parliament on the governance regulation on 17 January. MEPs have the possibility to move the delivery date for climate strategies to 2019 instead of 2020 and timing matters.

MaxiMiseR round table Cities and regions 30/01/18



Cities and regions worldwide have demonstrated that they can play a leading role in the fight against climate change.



Join us and our speakers on January 30th 2018 from 9:00am CET at our offices
WWF European Policy Office, Rue du commerce 123, Brussels, Belgium.


Tula Ekengren, Regional developer, Region Västra Götaland County, Sweden
Adam White, Senior Research Coordinator, WWF European Policy Office
Paul Davies, Head of Bristol Brussels Office, Bristol City Council, United Kingdom 

DG Clima Action's perspective:

Dina Silina, Adaptation, DG Climate Action

Imke Lübbeke, Project Director and Head of the WWF EU Climate & Energy unit

The upcoming WWF MaxiMiseR round-table will discuss what the EU and national governments can learn from cities and regions, and how they can support them in long-term climate planning.

A light breakfast will be served between 9:00am and 9:30am CET.

To join us in the room, send an email to Florian Becker (fbecker@wwf.eu), Communications Officer by Monday, January 29th.

You can also join us from your laptop, phone, tablet by registering to watch the live-stream of the round-table. You must first register, in order to be sent the link to join the live-stream. Attached are instructions on how to use our conferencing system.

Low emissions strategies - what’s happening around the world?

Under the Paris Agreement, all countries committed to producing a long-term climate plan.

In the EU, WWF MaxiMiseR’s recent report showed that only 13 out of the 28 Member States have submitted such a strategy.

Are non-EU countries doing any better? Leia Achampong, MaxiMiseR Climate Policy Officer conducted a review of low emissions strategies from countries outside of the EU, based on a questionnaire that was sent to 168 countries. Unfortunately only 11 out 168 countries responded to the questionnaire.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one such respondent, and has set a 50% reduction target by 2050 in its long-term strategy, which was developed in collaboration with civil society, officials and academic institutions. However it’s not a sector wide strategy, as it only covers the energy, agriculture and mobility sectors.

Overall the key finding is that among the 11 countries that responded, six have a long term strategy (LTS) in place and another four are working on producing one. Only Mongolia said that it hadn’t started to work on a strategy.

Other key findings in the MaxiMiseR non-EU questionnaire:

  • Many of the LTS submitted do not include a 2050 target year

  • There is little political commitment as LTS are either not binding or do not receive enough high-level support

  • Key sectors such as aviation and transport are missing in many of the strategies

  • Most strategies do not have a well developed, dynamic review process

  • None of the countries foresee any regional cooperation with neighbouring countries

  • Stakeholder involvement is an essential part of most LTS, yet there is room for improvement on who is involved

Common problems that these countries say they face include a lack of expertise, little financial support or low awareness. Many of those challenges on how to develop a comprehensive long term development strategy,  are addressed in MaxiMiseR’s guidance report Planning to succeed

More country specific challenges can be found in the report.

Low-Carbon Development Strategies: what changed in 2017?

Earlier this month the MaxiMiseR 2017 analysis of Low-Carbon Development Strategies was published. We took a moment and sat down with Jane Wallace Jones, project manager of MaxiMiseR to find out more.    

Q: What are the main findings of the 2017 analysis and what does that mean?

J: All in all, only thirteen out of twenty-eight Member States have strategies which qualify as LCDS under the MaxiMiseR criteria in 2017. This is two years after they were due to submit them. And generally, the LCDS are uneven in quality.

However, from other sources we know that quite a lot of other countries, such as Sweden, Spain and Portugal, are actually working on developing long term strategies and there seems to be an increased awareness on how to do them well.

Q. You already evaluated the plans submitted in 2015. What are the main differences?

J: The main message from the analysis is that not much seems to have actually changed in the European low-carbon development strategy (LCDS) landscape between 2015  and 2017. Estonia and the Czech Republic now have published LCDS for the first time, and the UK and Germany have delivered new strategies.

Q: How would you rate the quality of the LCDS submitted?

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J:  The quality of the LCDS evaluated varies enormously, with scores of 78% in the case of France and 25% in the case of the draft LCDS from Cyprus. This range remains unchanged from the previous evaluation, but overall the average score improved to 56%, which is slightly higher than the 2015 average of 50.5% . This improvement is thanks to the quality of the new LCDS as well as additional documents in the case of some of the previously scored LCDS, in the case of Ireland the score went up to 75%, scoring 41% in the 2015 analysis.

Q: How ambitious are the LCDS in terms of CO2 reduction?

J: Only seven of the thirteen national LCDSs have emissions reductions targets in line with the pre-Paris Agreement EU goal of 80-95% cuts by 2050 compared to 1990 levels: these are The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, The United Kingdom, Cyprus, Lithuania and the Czech Republic.

A high overall quality score for the LCDS and high emission reductions do not necessarily go hand in hand, because we assessed much more than just headline targets. So Member States may score well for how they go about developing and implementing their LCDS but they may not have an overall target which is ambitious enough or vice-versa.

Q: On what criteria is the assessment based and what are the conclusions of the 2017 assessment?



The assessment uses a methodology  that WWF developed with the Ecologic Institute. We base the overall score we give on how the plan did in various subcategories, consisting of 10 criteria. You’ll find a detailed overview of the evaluation tool in the annex of the previous report.

In 2017, Member States LCDSs scored best on public transparency, ambition and analytical basis. However, they did less well on monitoring their plans, making them easy to implement,  and  grounding them in solid political commitment - for example, through binding climate targets.

We can help ensure all Member States produce higher quality strategies by including clear requirements for these strategies , in the EU Energy Union governance regulation, which is being finalised in the next few weeks, and by providing  templates and guidance. In fact as guidance is missing at EU level, the MaxiMiseR project has come up with its own, to support Member States in developing their Low Carbon Development Strategies

Q: How optimistic are you that we can get this right for the future?

J: This may be wishful thinking, but I have a feeling that if this exercise were to be repeated in a year’s time, we would be nicely surprised by an increase in the number of long term climate strategies and an accompanying increase in their quality. It really is urgent, though, for the forthcoming Energy Union governance regulation to provide support to MS in producing strategies and to foresee enforcement mechanisms and regular review so that Member States deliver their strategies on time!

Read the full report here