The continued effort sharing approach in EU climate law: Binding targets, challenging enforcement?

Marjan Peeters*, Natasa Athanasiadou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)


With the Effort Sharing Regulation, Member States are challenged to steer their societies – particularly the agriculture, buildings, waste and transport sectors – towards lower greenhouse gas emissions. The Effort Sharing Regulation illustrates the large extent to which the European Union (EU) relies on the use of hard law for addressing climate change, including binding enforcement provisions. The approach of the Effort Sharing Regulation is, in essence, simple: it consists of individual binding emission reduction targets for Member States, which are given various options to achieve compliance in a supposedly flexible, cost‐effective way. In this sense, the effort sharing approach is a continuation of the regulatory approach put forward by the Kyoto Protocol. The Effort Sharing Regulation can also serve as an example for third countries to adopt binding emission reduction targets, and it can be considered whether it would be beneficial to link such binding targets of third countries with this EU mechanism. However, a closer look at the Regulation highlights the challenges for its implementation, and the correct use of flexibilities, together with the proper application of the monitoring and enforcement provisions will be key for a successful outcome. The reputation of the EU taking leadership for combating climate change hinges on demonstrating compliance and on taking effective enforcement action where needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-211
Number of pages11
JournalReview of European Community and International Environmental Law
Issue number2
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

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