Climate governance

Only a strong governance framework can guarantee further EU emissions reductions and the development of low carbon technologies

Meeting the temperature objectives under the Paris Agreement will require disruptive system innovations in all sectors of our economy. To make the required transition a success, we will need a strong governance framework that combines long-term strategic planning complemented with compatible short- and mid-term policy development. This will allow us to achieve our objectives for 2050 and beyond in a smart and cost-effective way, and to reap the many opportunities of a transition to a climate-neutral society.

Following the Paris Agreement, the EU, its Member States and other European countries must do more to strengthen their governance frameworks to ensure the level of ambition and policy framework to deliver emissions reductions remains in line with keeping temperature increases well below two degrees.

The European Commission published a new governance proposal on 30 November 2016 that aims to ensure the EU achieves its climate and energy targets for 2030.  As the recent reforms of the EU ETS and the Effort Sharing Regulation do not guarantee an achievement of the -40% greenhouse gas reduction target, this piece of legislation has become even more important.  Moreover, it is the main tool by which the EU can meet its 2030 targets through a cost-effective pathway towards our more ambitious, longer-term targets.

Sandbag is working with other organisations to examine how these proposals could go further to deliver a European governance framework that will deliver the Paris Agreement.

At Member State level, many countries do not have national action plans or climate change programmes or climate change targets.  In the UK the Climate Change Act and the carbon budgets it provides for, are the key governance instrument. Sandbag’s founder, Baroness Worthington, was a key architect of the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008.  This sets a legally binding 2050 emissions reduction target as well as legally binding ‘carbon budgets’ to act as intermediate targets along the way.  The Climate Change Act has been very effective in providing a legal framework for emission reductions, but it is vital that the level of future carbon budgets take into account the Paris Agreement and the ambition of the long term targets reviewed.

Sandbag has worked with the Committee on Climate Change to help them recommend the correct level for the UK’s carbon budgets. In Parliament, our advocacy has focused on closing the loophole in carbon budget accounting which offshores the government’s responsibility to cut emissions to the notoriously weak EU Emissions Trading System.

Our work continues to strengthen climate policy governance across Europe and ensure emissions cuts are cost-effective and permanent.

A notable success to date is winning a new cross-party commitment in the Energy Bill 2016 to legislate for net-zero emissions under the Climate Change Act.

Recent Climate Governance Reports


Recent Climate Governance blog posts


Persistent surplus risks stymieing EU ETS reform, finds research from Sandbag

The latest data analysis from think tank Sandbag shows that the reforms being widely considered for the EU ETS are unlikely to be effective drivers of decarbonisation, as they will fail to deal with...

Parliament Carbon Border Adjustment vote a welcome call for EU ETS reform

The European Commission’s plan for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism cleared its first hurdle today as the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament passed an own initiative report broadly...

Now boarding for better climate action under EU ETS aviation rules

It’s a major year of reform for many aspects of the EU ETS, and aviation is no exception. The European Commission will soon decide how its key climate policy will interact with international...

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