The EU’s climate ambition is set to increase through the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s (EC) proposed 2030 climate target plan. Once new economy-wide targets have been agreed, the main climate and energy policy instruments will be revised. The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) reform process already started in June 2021. To ensure it delivers a balanced, fair and effective outcome, a variety of stakeholders need to have a voice and be deeply involved in the reform process. The EU ETS targets about 45% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions and is therefore a key climate policy instrument. It has successfully reduced emissions in the EU power sector, but there is untapped potential in the industrial, aviation and maritime sectors. In additon, developments in non-EU members of the Energy Community (an international organisation which brings together the EU and its neighbours to create an integrated pan-European energy market) offer an opportunity for building capacity among NGOs in these countries and increasing their ability to engage with local, national and EU policymakers.
The overall objective of the LIFE ETX project is to enhance climate governance and optimise the functioning of the EU ETS through scientific assessment, advocacy, broader and stronger civil society participation, and international collaboration. This will secure benefits for the climate and for people, and will support achieving the EU’s 2030 climate target plan, its 2050 climate neutrality and adaptation objectives, the European Green Deal and the European Climate Pact. The project is designed to maximise the voice of civil society through directly addressing key barriers to participation in the reform process (capacity, knowledge and collaboration). It will take a bottom-up approach to supporting civil society organisations (CSOs), so they can assess the functioning and impacts of the EU ETS, national carbon pricing measures and international policy developments in order to inform relevant policymakers. LIFE ETX aims to unlock the potential of the EU ETS to deliver on the priorities of the European Green Deal, higher 2030 climate targets, the European Climate Pact and climate neutrality by 2050.
The project’s specific objectives include:
- At least 30 CSOs and NGOs in 15 target countries to have significantly increased awareness, knowledge and capacity on the functioning of the EU ETS and carbon pricing;
- Improved collaboration among CSOs and NGOs and coordinated policy influence through broader and stronger European and international networks;
- A scientific knowledge base for CSOs and NGOs providing improved ability to assess: i) the functioning of the EU ETS in EU Member States; ii) the potential of the EU ETS for achieving improved 2030 climate targets; and iii) the development of carbon pricing policies at national and European level; and
- Promoting the engagement of European citizens and key technical target audiences to support pan-European and international replication.
Whilst focusing specifically on the EU ETS, LIFE ETX will also support the objectives of other EU policies and international agreements, for example, contributing to:
- The EU’s Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), through broadening and strengthening stakeholder involvement in EU and national carbon pricing measures;
- The Paris Agreement, by spreading awareness of the role that carbon pricing can play and by promoting enhancement of the EU ETS in line with the EU’s new 2030 targets and the climate neutrality goal; and
- Sectoral policy areas, by facilitating exchanges among NGOs and publishing research on the impacts of carbon pricing on key sectors (national ESR targets, the EU’s farm to fork strategy, the European low-emission mobility strategy, and the EU’s post-2020 common agricultural policy).
- Training strategy and toolkit developed and delivered to 30 key target CSOs and NGOs, along with documentation from 6 regional workshops/training sessions;
- Improved networking between stakeholders at European and international level, combined with advocacy support, resulting in coordinated action towards ambitious, fair carbon pricing (national and European), including in EU-neighbouring countries;
- A “high ambition” scenario report produced on EU ETS reform, as well as a policy brief and analytical reports; and
- At least 1,000 people from key technical audiences engaged through targeted communications activities and more than 1 million European citizens exposed to media coverage about the EU ETS and its reform.