Ratings per country

Countrysort icon Total Country Summary Success Stories
AUSTRIA   E Many sectors and policy areas are covered by a broader set of initiatives, but many of them are not suffciently ambitious to transform Austria into a low-carbon economy by 2050. Important areas such as promoting material-effcient and fully recyclable products and effciency in transport are not developed.
  • Austria has a relatively well-functioning feed-in tariff for renewable electricity generation. A decrease in the level and duration of support, as well as a cap on funds had initially stopped further new installations. However, a further substantial change to the law was passed at the end of 2009 which may improve the situation.
  • Austria is among the European top-runners with respect to use of solar-thermal for private household heat generation. This is mainly incentivised by regional – not national – promotion schemes.
  • In 2007, the Climate and Energy fund has been set up with an endowment of € 500 mio to support the implementation of the Austrian Climate Strategy. The Fund provides subsidies for promoting innovative projects e.g. renewable energy supply.
BELGIUM   E The country’s overall performance is dominated by the complex relationship between the Belgian Federal Government and the autonomous regions. While on regional level some ambitious approaches exist, there is an overall lack of harmonisation across the measures, and those issues which require a solution on the national level often lag behind. In Belgium, regional targets are set for cogeneration. Flanders aims at a share of 5.25% CHP in electricity production by 2012 and stimulates this with a separate certifcate system. Further plans are proposed to increase the share to 10.5% by 2021. Walloonia has set a combined target of 14% electricity from either CHP or renewable electricity. This means that both options are interchangeable and green certifcates are valid for both. Belgium has several good policies to support public transport. The Federal government fnances 20% of the cost to employers for a public transport season ticket for commuting. Furthermore, there is a tax incentive to promote carpooling. Wallonia & Flanders pay 100 percent of the costs for a number of employers. Additionally, there is an obligation for private train companies to increase passenger transport by 25% from 2006 to 2012.
BULGARIA   F Bulgaria has shown efforts in implementing policies, for example, by supporting renewables in electricity production. However, it still has a long way to go to develop into a low-carbon economy. As a concrete implementation of the European Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD), a certifcation system for buildings has been introduced. In Bulgaria, certifcation is performed on new buildings and on buildings that are modernized or restructured. For public buildings certifcation is mandatory. Still, much work remains to be done, especially in the residential sector. The largest barrier is the lack of organisation of home owners.
CYPRUS   F Support does exist in the energy and buildings sector, but is not suffcient. The industry and transport sectors would need to be addressed further so that the transformation to a low-carbon economy can take place. The current policy framework, including a feed-in tariff for RES-E, runs from 2009-2013 and has the target to reach a 9% renewable energy share in electricity generation by 2013. A new framework was submitted to the European Commission in 2010, covering the period from 2013-2020 for the target of 13% of RES-E in electricity production.
CZECH REPUBLIC   E The country has not yet defined both a long-term target to reduce its emissions and a strategy to develop into a low-carbon economy. However, support programmes for renewables in electricity production and buildings are in place. The agricultural and forestry sector are also targeted with policies. In contrast, the important industrial sector is not targeted appropriately by policies to reduce emissions towards a low-carbon economy. The Czech Republic has relatively good support systems and programmes for renewables in all sectors. However, in The electricity sector, The support is not planned and guaranteed for The long term. A combined building sector support for renewable energies and energy efficiency exists.
DENMARK   D Denmark does not have a long-term greenhouse gas target. A long history of diversified support for renewables has led to the current comparatively high share of renewable electricity production. Danish climate policy is especially weak in relation to the transport sector. Energy efficiency in buildings is another area where much more action is needed.
  • Denmark has a diversified support system for renewables, encouraging a variety of technologies through a system of price premiums, a tendering system for offshore wind and additional measures provided by the transmission grid operator. It has been very successful in integrating a high share of fluctuating renewable sources, especially wind, into its grid.
  • Denmark has an advanced and highly decentralised electricity system, where 20% of all electricity generated comes from wind turbines.
  • Denmark produces no nuclear energy. In 1985 the parliament decided against producing nuclear energy in Denmark.
ESTONIA   E The country faces several challenges due to post-socialist economic restructuring such as the collapse of former key industries, sudden rise of living standards for part of the population, high amount of foreign investment and vulnerability to the economic crisis. Estonia focuses on measures which are necessary to meet EU targets and to profit from Kyoto but does not aim at further reductions. As efficiency standards in the building and energy sector are generally still at a low level, efficiency improvements are economically attractive and in the public and political interest. Estonian political sustainability ambitions are specifically focused on nature protection and the avoidanhttp://www.climatepolicytracker.eu/node/475/editce of pollutants. The agricultural sector is characterised by a good policy mix including limits for nitrogen load. It is especially remarkable that a land use strategy is implemented and consistent. – Sustainable forestry is practised and 30% of the forest area is protected. – The plan to carry out an ecological tax reform by 2012, which explicitly aims at including external costs, is included in the Development Plan of the Estonian Electricity Sector.
FINLAND   F In spite of a comparatively high share of CHP, district heating, biomass and hydro energy, other renewable options are hardly supported. Finland has some policies to stimulate the use of renewable energy, but all of these are on a voluntary basis. Finland is clearly focusing on nuclear energy by aiming at two additional nuclear reactors besides the one under construction. Under the ‘National Forest Programme’, the Finnish forests are monitored and conserved. Since the 1970s, the area of forest is constantly increasing. – The Finnish industry can be considered as comparatively energy efficient, mostly because of frequent use of CHP. Heat from power plants and industrial process is used both in industry and for district heating.
FRANCE   E Although most areas are addressed by policies and measures, these are not ambitious enough to transform France into a low-carbon economy. France rates comparatively well in transport, but incentives for the use of renewables and energy efficiency in the industry sector are very limited. There is a well-functioning support system for RES-E through a feed-in tariff with long support periods (15/20 years) and a cap on only a very limited area of the support. However, tariffs for solar electricity have been reduced since the beginning of 2010 and are to be reduced further by September 2010. The requirements for wind turbine installations have recently been strengthened, adding new legal constraints and administrative procedures. – France currently has some of the lowest levels of emissions for new cars (131 gCO2/km) and has introduced a bonus/malus system to further lower these emissions. – Well-managed forests exist in France, including public and privately owned forests. Extensive information is available for all owners.
GERMANY   D Despite its relatively good position in comparison to other countries, Germany still has to double its efforts to get on track towards a low-carbon economy. Germany is at the forefront in the promotion of renewable energy in the electricity sector. It has implemented a package of diverse measures to promote efficiency and renewables in buildings, which is however still insufficient to promote the necessary building renovation rates. The target of reducing emissions by 40% by 2020 is not binding and there is no comprehensive climate and energy strategy beyond 2020. More ambitious policies are especially needed in promoting efficiency in industry and transport. In addition, several incentives still exist that increase greenhouse gas emissions, like tax rebates for energy intensive industries and for company cars and travel to work. The promotion of renewable energy in The electricity sector via An adequate, long-term and predictable feed-in tariff promotes The construction of many renewable energy production sites. The differentiated feed-in tariff leads to one of The most diversified ranges of renewable energy technologies used within The European Union. – GERMANY has implemented A policy package in The building sector with A broad spectrum of instruments. There are moderately ambitious performance standards for new buildings, combined with differentiated support systems for exceeding these standards and for stimulating energy efficient renovation. A law on renewable heat use complements The package. Still, The effect is not sufficient to reach necessary renovation rates, due to insufficient overall size (which has just recently been reduced even further) and The administrative barriers that remain.
GREECE   F Although it has an official climate strategy, this is only defined until 2010 and there is no binding target for GHG emission reductions. Currently a new strategy is being developed, but it looks like it will not be comprehensive and will only focus on implementing the EU renewables strategy. In terms of implemented policies, all sectors are lacking sufficiently ambitious measures, while the most important and emission intensive sectors industry, transport and buildings are rated very low. Greece has a well functioning support system for household PV (feed-in tariff at the highest possible level and removal of old administrative barriers). Moreover, a new law requires the installation of PV systems in combination with solar thermal systems in every new or completely renovated building.
HUNGARY   E Hungary is rated insufficient overall. It presents a very mixed picture, with some good efforts in agriculture, forestry and partly in promoting renewable electricity production. In general, however, there is a lack of ambition in most sectors. There are hardly any efforts on the way to tackle emissions from the transport sector, while European regulation is implemented rather weakly in the building sector. Hungary has clear and strict laws to protect land, forests and soil. The use of land cannot be changed without prior consent of the respective authority. For forests, the aim is to increase the territory of forests as an ecosystem and maintain or improve its diversity.
IRELAND   D This is mainly due to advanced agriculture and forestry policies, with agriculture being an important sector compared to other countries. A lot of work remains to transform the country into a low-carbon economy by 2050, especially in the industry and buildings sectors. However, Ireland has formulated a National Climate Strategy aiming at a reduction of 80% by 2050 and is currently preparing new climate change legislation to address both mitigation and adaptation issues in policy formulation across all sectors and government departments. The National Climate Strategy covers all sectors and aims for 80% reduction by 2050. New climate change legislation is being prepared that can potentially enhance the degree by which climate change adaptation and mitigation is considered in policy formulation across all government departments and agencies. A framework document for this legislation was published in late 2009. – Ireland’s energy sector has managed to significantly increase the country’s power generation conversion efficiency, while decreasing the carbon intensity of electricity generated from fossil fuels. This has resulted in nearly a third less CO2 emissions per kWh of electricity produced in 2007 compared to 1990. – Agriculture and forestry related issues are well covered. Agriculture in particular is of major economic importance to Ireland. Even though there is no overall land use strategy, there are many programmes in both sectors to increase the levels of sustainable farming and sustainable forestry. These programmes (e.g. the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme and the BioEnergy Scheme) have lead to a total decrease in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions of 10.5% between 2000 and 2008.
ITALY   E Subject to an ambitious Kyoto target, Italy is showing some good policy initiatives, but they are not combined into a comprehensive strategy reflecting a renewed ambition to reach a zero carbon economy. Additionally, the choice of going back to nuclear for energy supply is likely to divert important resources from future low-carbon polices. The use of renewable energy is stimulated by guaranteeing a feed-in-tariff over the long-term. Depending on the technology, this varies between 15 and 20 years. This is combined with a renewables obligation which is supported by a green certificate scheme. – There is a 55% fiscal incentive renewed in the last two years (2009 and 2010) for energy-efficiency measures in buildings, including solar-thermal, insulation and glass substitution. Unfortunately, this incentive is expiring at the end of December 2010.
LATVIA   E The country has no climate strategy. Policies seem to follow individual case-by-case demands rather than being based on a consistent concept. An exception is the forest sector with a good overall strategy. Efficiency levels in the building and industry sector are low, which makes efficiency improvements economically attractive and it is unclear why this potential is not tapped. The highlight of Latvia’s sustainability policy is the forestry sector. The entire state forest is certified by FSC and there is a comprehensive set of policies around sustainable forest management, notwithstanding that Latvia has had to deal with a particularly difficult situation after the privatisation of much of the forest. – Generally a consistent land use strategy is defined.
LITHUANIA   E Although there is a national energy strategy until 2025, renewable energy and energy efficiency are only one out of many priorities. Except for the forestry sector, which follows the principles of sustainable forestry and plans to increase the overall forest area of the state by 3% by the year 2020, no sector has a stringent low-carbon policy mix. Despite the difficult economic situation, the country has put some efforts on increasing energy efficiency in the building sector and the share of renewable energies in the country’s energy mix. There is a consistent set of sustainable policies in forestry. The target is to increase the overall forest area of the state by 3% by the year 2020. Therefore several measures like planting of forests and limitations on felling are integrated in the implementation strategy of the Lithuanian forestry sector. – Ambitious goal to increase the share of CHP plants to 35% out of total electricity generation by 2025. Due to the shutdown of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant at the end of 2009, which was the cheapest source of electricity, CHP plants are now economically attractive, even without additional support. – Public procurement requires the implementation of environmental management systems for suppliers. This is a good way to promote energy efficiency in industry.
LUXEMBOURG   F The current policy focuses on renewable electricity generation with some measures in energy efficiency in buildings and cars, leaving other areas untouched. The action is not sufficient to transform the whole economy. Low tax level on transport fuels incentivises higher emissions. Support for renewable electricity generation through a feed-in tariff is generally designed in the right way with sufficient tariffs for different types of technologies, fixed tariffs for 15 or 20 years and a policy without end date and no cap. Still, administrative barriers hamper employing the full potential of renewable energy in Luxembourg.
MALTA   F It is the smallest EU country and area is one limiting factor. Since its entry into the EU, Malta has made significant efforts to improve the environmental situation. It has formulated a national strategy on climate with 96 measures but without an emission target and it does not go beyond 2020. In general, the implemented policies leave a rather mixed picture. Solar hot water heaters for buildings are well supported, covering up to 66% of eligible cost. However, this support can be stopped by the government at any time, which causes investment uncertainties. – There are active plantation management and reforestation projects being carried out.
NETHERLANDS   E Although they have formulated a strategy and targets for 2020, these targets will not be reached with the current set of policies. The stability of the Dutch (renewable) energy and climate policy is a key point to be taken into consideration. The Netherlands is considered a frontrunner in sustainable biomass criteria, for example in setting the “Cramer Criteria” in 2006. However, the subsidy for biomass within the feed-in premium scheme (SDE) is not yet subject to sustainability criteria, but some “high risk” biofuels, like palm oil, are excluded. From 2011 onwards, the intention is to have a sustainability criterion for SDE subsidy of biomass. – Energy taxes for households are relatively high, representing 50% of the total consumer price.
POLAND   F Although Poland has an energy strategy, it only reaches until 2030 and the level of ambition is too low. Policies in the fields of energy, industry and forestry do exist, but are not sufficient to reach a low-carbon economy until 2050. In the fields of buildings, transport and agriculture, big efforts are needed in the future to develop them towards a low-carbon future.http://www.climatepolicytracker.eu/node/488/edit A state forest policy and a programme to increase the forested area are in place, including guidelines on how to develop regional spatial development plans for afforested areas.
PORTUGAL   E Portugal made a significant effort to implement new policies to reach the Kyoto target, but significant gaps exist for the country to be on a low-carbon development path. Several good initiatives are planned but not yet implemented. Highlights are its support for renewable electricity and efficient appliances. If the positive policy-making trend continues, Portugal will rate significantly better next year. Portugal has a well-designed feed-in tariff for RES and is about to reach the ambitious target of 45% of electricity consumed coming from RES. – Energy efficiency policies in industry, buildings and transportation are promising.
ROMANIA   F The country faces several economic challenges. It is starting to implement energy and climate polices, but they are in no way sufficient to put the country on a pathway towards a low-carbon economy. Several plans are underway but not yet implemented. Romania’s renewable energy in electricity production increased by 8% between 1990 and 2007. – The share of renewable energy (without electricity) in buildings (firewood) increased almost 30% between 1990 and 2005.
SLOVAKIA   E The country faces several economic challenges. An overall strategy to reduce GHG emissions that covers all sectors is needed. Except for the forestry sector, policies are not sufficient and based on a piecemeal approach. The carbon effects of policies have no priority. The efficiency standards in the building and energy sector are low; efficiency improvements are economically attractive and substantial reductions in energy use have been achieved. The positive ratings are often due to improvements in the past, not new policies. Support for renewable electricity production has been implemented. – A land use strategy is implemented and consistent, sustainable forestry is practised.
SLOVENIA   E . It is among the advanced new member states. Significant efforts have been made to improve environmental performance, especially in the building, energy and transport sector. The agricultural and forestry sectors are traditionally characterized by a sustainable policy. Although ambitious policies have been implemented to increase energy efficiency in households (insulation and heating systems), the increasing standard of living has almost overtaken these improvements. An overall long-term climate strategy is missing. Slovenia would be a good candidate for a more detailed look next year. Obligatory installation of 25% RES in new buildings. – Tax for air pollution with CO2 exemption for businesses if they agree to reduce their emissions by at least 2.5% compared to base year. – The Spatial Development strategy defines the use of renewable energy sources as a priority for new or modernised public infrastructure and the use of CHP as priority for new or existing thermal power plants and district heating power plants. The Spatial Development Strategy also includes several aspects of sustainable transport and enables integrated planning. – Very ambitious target of 20% organic land area by 2015
SPAIN   E There are important initiatives in renewable electricity generation and renewables in buildings, but other sectors lack policies, in particular the transport sector. An integrated long-term, low- carbon plan could replace the national climate strategy, which is only in place until 2020. Spain lacks overall ambition, shown for example by the 2020 target for Spain, which according to the EU climate and energy package results in +31% GHG emissions compared to 1990. This target is less ambitious for 2020 than for 2012 (+15% compared to 1990) In Spain, a well functioning feed-in premium scheme for renewable electricity generation is in place. Until now, the focus was on wind and solar technologies (Spain is one of the world leaders regarding installed capacities). However, the policy framework has been unstable lately. In 2009, a cap has been introduced for solar and wind and retroactive changes in the incentive framework for renewables irritated producers and investors. – Spain has introduced an obligation to use solar thermal energy (30-70% of warm water demand) as well as a minimum contribution to electricity consumption by PV in new and retrofitted buildings, saving approx. 30-40% energy per household.
SWEDEN   D Sweden adopted a vision that in 2050 the country will have no net emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is possible due to the vast resources of forests and biomass. Sweden has a long history of using biomass. It is regularly used for combined heat and power and as heat source in industry. Standards in buildings and incentives for transport are also relatively high. However, the concentration on biomass has turned the focus away from developing electricity end-use-efficiency, restructuring industry and investing in infrastructure for a modal shift. While there was a moratorium on new nuclear capacity, this has just recently been lifted, opening the possibility of extending the dependence on nuclear energy and diverting resources away from much-needed investment in efficiency and renewables. Sweden has a long history of using biomass, both for heat and power, but also for materials. In 2009, biomass energy overtook oil to become the largest contributor to Sweden’s energy mix. It is regularly used for combined heat and power and as heat source in industry. The high share of biomass use is due to high availability and partly due to policies. – Sweden has (traditionally) relatively strict energy standards for buildings. Renovated buildings need to reach the same standard as new buildings. However, a trajectory to zero energy buildings is not foreseen. – There is a long experience with CO2 taxation. However, for power and industry, this has been overtaken by the Emission Trading System. – Fuel stations are obliged to offer at least one renewable fuel.
UNITED KINGDOM   E . The UK has an ambitious, legally binding Climate Change Act which commits the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. It sets carbon budgets in 5-year increments and has independent review provisions through its Committee on Climate Change. There are several initiatives covering many sectors and policy areas. However, in most cases, these are not ambitious enough to achieve a transformation to a low-carbon economy by 2050. Some important areas are underdeveloped, particularly in buildings and transport. While the new government, elected in May 2010, has indicated climate ambitions of a similar level as the previous government, budget cuts are currently being implemented and are anticipated across all areas of the economy. These could have serious implications on the policies that are currently rated positively. The UK is the only EU country with a legally binding long-term commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This commitment is supported by innovative carbon budgets set in 5-year increments to ensure that emissions decline from day one. There is an additional provision for the carbon budgets to be tightened through government responses to recommendations from the independent Committee on Climate Change – Successful introduction of new policy instruments – for example the Carbon Trust, receive resources from a climate change levy and this finances further emission reductions.