National Climate and Energy Plans must pave the way for increasing the EU’s climate ambition

Under the Governance Regulation, all Member States must prepare their National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) to describe, in an integrated manner, their climate and energy objectives, targets, policies and measures for the period from 2021 to 2030.

This report presents an assessment of 15 final NECPs that were submitted to the Commission before 1st May 2020. It provides a comparison between the draft and the final NECPs and outlines gaps and opportunities identified by national NGOs, highlighting whereimprovements can still be made. The briefing includes general recommendations per sector and country factsheets with key issues to improve so that the NECPs pave the way for climate and energy policies and targets that are compatible with the Paris Agreement.

The NECPs are required to deliver a minimum ambition level that is set by the EU’s climate and energy legislation. This means that Member States need to show how they will deliver their national binding greenhouse gas emission
reduction targets for sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading System (such as transport, buildings, waste, agriculture) and contribute to the EU’s current energy targets of at least 32% renewable energy and 32.5% energy efficiency by 2030.

Today, Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament acknowledge that the current level of climate ambition is not enough to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Therefore, the EU’s 2030 climate target will now be updated and enhanced. In September 2020, the European Commission will issue its impact assessment regarding the increase of the 2030 climate target to 50-55% emissions reductions compared to 1990. However, to do its fair share under the Paris Agreement, the EU must increase its 2030 climate target to at least 65% and reach climate neutrality by 2040.

In this regard, National Climate and Energy Plans have the potential to prepare the ground for increased climate ambition in Europe in order to achieve the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement through tangible actions, strong climate and energy targets, as well as robust policies and measures.

This analysis shows that the improvements made in the NECPs are not enough to catalyse the required energy transition and pave the way for a climate neutral economy. NECPs will need to continuously improve, starting with closing the gaps and building on the opportunities identified in this report. In this regard, the European Commission needs to follow up on its assessment of the draft NECPs and update its recommendations to Member States, especially those that were not addressed in the final plans.

This is especially valid for the recommendations related to the increase of the energy contributions and the lack of detail regarding the policies and measures needed to, at least, deliver the climate and energy targets.

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