The Climate Change Energy package agreed by the EU in December 2008 included a new legislative instrument, the so-called Effort Sharing Decision (Decision 406/2009/EC) which addresses anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases that are not covered by the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Emissions that are not included in the EU ETS, referred to as “non-ETS” emissions, fall within scope of the Effort Sharing Decision. In Malta’s case, non-ETS emissions include all non-CO2 GHG emissions from the two local energy generation power plants (these plants fall under the EU ETS in respect of CO2 emissions), emissions from road transport, domestic navigation and aviation (no domestic aviation activities performed in Malta are envisaged to fall within scope of the EU ETS in respect of CO2 emissions), waste, agriculture, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, fuel combustion in industry and in the residential, institutional and commercial sectors, as well as fugitive emissions from fuels. These emissions currently account for approximately one third of Malta’s total GHG emissions.
GHG emissions from international aviation and shipping (maritime bunkers), which are the only greenhouse gas emitting sectors which are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, are also excluded from the Effort Sharing Decision. Efforts continue at international level to find means by which emissions from such sectors can be regulated on a global scale. In the meantime, a major share of EU GHG emissions from aviation (international as well as domestic) will be included in the EU ETS as from 2012.
At this stage, GHG removals related to land use, land use change and forestry are also excluded from the scope of the Decision.
The aim of the Effort Sharing Decision is to reduce, by 2020, non-ETS GHG emissions by 10% from 2005 levels across the EU. Each Member State will contribute to this effort according to its relative wealth, with national emission targets ranging from -20% for richer Member States to 20% for poorer ones. At present, non-ETS emissions account for about 60% of the EU’s GHG emissions.
Apart from the final target for 2020, the Decision sets intermediate binding annual targets for the period 2013 to 2020. The annual emission allocation defined by this linear trajectory cannot be exceeded, except to a (quantified) limited extent through the use of the flexibilities provided for in the Decision. These include the possibility for Member States to borrow from their own allocation for the subsequent year, acquisition of additional allowances from other Member States and the use of credits from project activities. Member States whose efforts result in emissions that are below the target can carry forward surplus allowances to subsequent years or transfer their unused allocation to other Member States.
In order to demonstrate compliance with their commitments under this Decision, Member States will be obliged to report their emissions annually to the Commission and to report on their projected progress every two years. These obligations are already provided for under Decision 280/2004/EC (the so-called Monitoring Mechanism).
Member States will be subject to corrective actions in the event that the annual emission allocations are exceeded. The corrective actions envisaged include a deduction from the Member State’s emission allocation for the following year, the obligation to submit a corrective action plan, and the temporary suspension of eligibility to transfer part of the Member State’s emission allocation and project mechanism credits to another Member State until compliance is achieved.
Malta has agreed to a target for 2020 that has been set at 5% relative to its 2005 GHG emissions. This means that by 2020, Malta’s non-ETS emissions can only increase up to 5% when compared to the non-ETS emissions in 2005, as reported in the national GHG emissions inventory.
As a Member State with a positive target for 2020, Malta’s annual targets for the period 2013 to 2020 will be defined by a straight line trajectory between 2009 and 2020, with the starting point in 2009 equal to the average of non-ETS emissions for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Malta’s target for 2020 and the linear trajectory are shown graphically in figure 1.
Figure 1 - Diagram illustrating the compliance framework of the Effort Sharing Decision