The Paris Agreement In Context: What Does it Mean for Me?

The Agreement

The Paris Agreement (2015) has provided a significant step toward coordinating the efforts of the world to combat climate change.  Each country has set its own target (known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – an INDC) which, under the Paris Agreement, it is now bound to deliver, with a review every five years. Some countries will reduce absolute emissions, some will reduce emissions intensity, some will compare reduction to a base year, some will compare against a Business As Usual modelled trajectory. Each country’s targets are bespoke to their situation to balance growth and development against emissions. Details of the country by country targets are provided, by WRI, here.

The Context in Europe

Through the INDC mechanism, the EU and its Member States have committed to reducing domestic GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990. This follows on from the ambitious EU 20-20-20 targets which promised that by 2020 Europe would have a:

  • 20% (or even 30%) reduction in CO2 emissions
    • On track: from 1990 to 2014, greenhouse gas emissions in Europe decreased by 23%[1]
  • 20% of the energy, on the basis of consumption, to come from renewables
    • On track: In 2014, 15% of energy across Europe came from renewables[2]
  • 20% increase in energy efficiency
    • Supported by the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU), improvements are being seen, but national indicative targets are falling short, reaching only 17%[3]

National initiatives such as ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) and other EED Article 8 legislation, targeting energy efficiency in large businesses, have yet to take effect. But with energy efficiency opportunities identified and highlighted at Board level, and with a Phase 2 deadline in 2019, the next four years will prove crucial to meeting this EU target.

The Business Case

Many businesses will now be considering setting, or stretching, their emissions reduction targets, to maximise the benefit from their ESOS and Article 8 audits. We expect a rise in ISO50001 certification, as companies look for a global solution that is not influenced by country legislation. We expect the global leaders to push for science based targets. And we expect that benchmarking will be key. Through reports such as CDP and tools such as WRI’s Business Emissions and Targets explorer, alongside energy audits and data monitoring, companies have the power to set robust targets to take them to 2020 and beyond.

To find out how Carbon Credentials can help your company take advantage of the energy efficiency opportunities in your business, save money, and play your part in meeting global targets, please click the button below.


[1] http://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/press/frontpage/2015/103_en.htm (Oct 2015)

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/news/eu-track-meeting-20-renewable-energy-target (Jun 2015)

[3] https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/news/progress-made-2020-energy-efficiency-target (Nov 2015)

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