Nothing could be more complex or remote than long-term climate and energy planning, right? Think again! The Q&A below will help you take a sneak peek into what the plans are, and why they matter.
In a nutshell, what does the MaxiMiseR project aim to do?
It aims to make EU countries’ long-term climate plans - known as ‘low carbon development strategies’ (LCDS) - as good and effective as possible by evaluating them and seeing what works well. It will also propose ways for low carbon development to be funded more effectively and transparently, through the auctioning of emissions allowances under the EU’s Emissions Trading System.
What exactly is a low carbon development strategy?
A low carbon development strategy (LCDS) is a country's plan for cutting its greenhouse gas emissions, which should be in accordance with the aim of keeping the global temperature rise this century “well below 2 degrees C” (as agreed in Paris at the 2015 UN climate summit), while securing the well-being and prosperity of its citizens. Ideally, the strategy should set clear goals to at least 2050 for ambitious emissions reduction, and explain how these cuts will be achieved. It should be based on the best scientific understanding and on a transparent process involving stakeholder participation.
In terms of climate plans, what do EU countries have to provide?
Back in 2010, industrialised countries - including the EU - committed to producing climate plans known as ‘low-carbon development strategies’ (LCDS). They said they would report on them every two years.
EU countries submitted their low-carbon strategies to the European Commission in 2015. They should report on progress and present any updates in 2017.
However, it is not yet clear whether low carbon development strategies (LCDS) will continue to be reported on separately to the European Commission, or whether they will become part of new EU ‘national climate and energy plans’ (see below). In either case, they will need to reflect international commitments regarding mid-century low greenhouse gas emission strategies.
Why are these plans so important?
Immediate action is crucial in tackling climate change, but so is long-term thinking.
Long-term climate plans show countries will continue to move in the right direction. This encourages greater ambition, allows better planning, creates trust between better off and less wealthy countries, and boosts certainty and stability for investors and low-carbon industries.
And most importantly, it means we will carry on tackling global warming and its terrible impacts!
To make these long-term plans as effective as possible, however, they must be ambitious, credible, based on the latest science and developed in a transparent and open way.
What is the role of the 'Monitoring Mechanism Regulation' in all this?
This is the EU tool that enables Member States to submit their low-carbon development strategies (LCDS), and give an update on their progress in 2017.
What about the EU’s upcoming 'national climate and energy plans' - what are these and how do they relate to the rest?
These national plans, which will run until 2030, will bring together EU countries’ anticipated progress towards their emissions reductions (binding EU goal of 40% reduction by 2030), energy efficiency (27% goal) and renewable energy goals (27% EU target). The national low carbon development strategies may be integrated into the climate and energy plans, which would streamline the planning and reporting process and save Member States having to produce multiple and potentially overlapping documents. The template and structure for these plans is currently being drawn up by the European Commission and Member States.
What is the expected timing of the national climate and energy plan process?
The European Commission is currently developing the templates, which are due to be published in 2016. After that, the templates will need to be adopted by the EU Member States and the the European Parliament before they are finalised and can start being used.
The plans will be ready to be filled in by Member States by 2020 at the latest.
How much money is currently available from auctioning pollution permits under the EU ETS, and how much goes to low-carbon action today?
In 2014, EU ETS auctioning generated €3.2 billion. EU Member States are supposed to allocate 50% of the ETS auctioning revenues for climate related purposes. Many claim to have done this while in actual fact they are are double counting. They do this by attributing their financial contributions to three different finance streams: domestic, international, and development finance.
WWF European Policy Office is calling for 50% of ETS revenue to go to international climate finance and 50% to go to actions to alleviate climate change here in Europe.
Got a burning question we missed or a detail to tweak? Let Sarah know! Sazau@wwf.eu