Responsibility greenhouse gas emissions of Member States shifts to European level

11-12-2008 | Persbericht

Greenhouse gas emissions by industry

There will be one emission cap for all major industrial and energy companies of the European Union included in the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS). In the Netherlands, around 45% of greenhouse gas emissions come from companies that fall under the ETS. As a result of this joint emission cap, by 2012 the Commission will not be setting reduction targets for national emissions of Member States, as is the case in the current Kyoto period. The current Dutch government target of the energy and climate programme 'Schoon en Zuinig' (a national cap for all greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, which is 30% below that of 1990), will therefore become less important.

‘Waterbed effect’

In a perfect market for emission rights, there will be a ‘waterbed effect’. The market ensures that emissions will be more or less equal to the cap of the EU ETS. Additional national policy measures can be important in achieving national targets for air quality, renewable energy, energy efficiency or technology development. However, such national policy measures in addition to the EU ETS are not effective for climate targets, as they could lead to less efforts by other Member States, because their companies could buy extra emission credits.

Emissions by households, government, traffic and small businesses

In the Netherlands, households, government, traffic and small businesses are responsible for around 55% of the national greenhouse gas emissions. The targets set in 'Schoon en Zuinig' for 2020, for these sectors not covered by the EU ETS and for renewable energy, remain within reach with the purchase of emission credits and ‘Guarantees of Origin’ of renewable energy sources.

For achieving the 'Schoon en Zuinig' target for energy efficiency, strict EU policies in other areas, such as standards for vehicles and electric appliances, are necessary. Such additional EU policies are also necessary for achieving the Netherlands’ targets, in the event the EU decides on a 30% overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Guarantees of Origin

The proposals by the European Commission provide countries with the ability to achieve national targets for renewable energy through national policy measures or though trading in ‘Guarantees of Origin’ (GO). However, the availability of sufficient GOs not evident, as many countries may have difficulties in reaching their targets, let alone over-achieving them. Therefore, it is doubtful whether such a high demand for GOs could be met.