Luxembourg

   

Environmental Policies

#11
Key Findings
Despite ongoing difficulties in reaching ecological goals, Luxembourg scores well overall (rank 11) with respect to environmental policies. Its score in this area has improved by 0.4 points relative to 2014.

The country has Europe’s highest energy consumption per capita and highest vehicle density. Emissions-reductions goals have been hampered by economic growth and the revenues earned from cross-border fuel purchasers. Public transportation for cross-border commuters has not been a sufficient focus, and biodiversity is a serious concern.

The country currently has the EU’s lowest share of energy consumption from renewable sources.

While some water-quality progress has been made, water bodies are often polluted. Waste-water management systems are badly outdated. Biodiversity is a problem, as the country has the EU’s highest degree of landscape fragmentation.

Environment

#13

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
7
During the period under review, Luxembourg has made efforts to protect water resources and curb emissions through a series of governmental measures. However, efforts such as reducing carbon emissions, caused partly by the phenomenon of “fuel tourism” by cross-border commuters, as well as the progressive improvement of the water quality of rivers and lakes, need to be continued. A new joint-venture drinking-water plant with a daily capacity of 110,000 cm3 is to be built.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Luxembourg pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 28% by 2012. However, government commitment to this target has been weak due to significant tax revenues derived from fuel tourism. Indeed, fuel tourism has increased carbon emissions and negated Luxembourg’s emissions policies. Other prominent key determinants of higher carbon emissions include dynamic economic growth and new car leasing by cross-border workers. Luxembourg has Europe’s highest energy consumption per capita, the highest vehicle density (660 vehicles per 1,000 people in 2014) and the highest renewal rate of passenger cars (12.5%). Despite the debate concerning environmental liability, Luxembourg was the only EU member state to reduce its biofuel ratio in 2012. Between 2015 and 2020, as part of the Kyoto Protocol, Luxembourg has agreed to contribute €5 million annually to the Green Climate Fund.
Luxembourg also has the lowest share of energy consumption from renewable sources of any EU member state (2.1%), while only 36% of wastewater is treated in modern triple-phase sewage treatment plants. In 2011, European Court of Justice ruled against the government for a second time for “failing in its obligation to treat and dispose of urban waste water.” As a result, Luxembourg has been paying a fine of €2,800 per day since 2013. The government has thus prioritized expenditure for the construction of wastewater treatment plants. The 2016 budget allocates €110 million for significant investments in new sewage treatment installations.

Almost 60% of the country’s deep wells have pesticide residues with many concentrated in the south of the country. Although Luxembourg committed to the OECD and EU Pesticide Risk Reduction Project, implementation has been slow. For example, the community framework for the sustainable use of plant protection products (2009/128/EG) directive only became national law in December 2014.

There are problems with wastewater treatment and drinking water supplies during particularly dry summers. The monitoring of water systems is insufficient. To improve drinking water quality, the environmental administration designated 80 drinking water protection areas and 42 communes have banned pesticides since 2016.

As of 2011, Luxembourg had the highest degree of landscape fragmentation in Europe, which has undermined the country’s biodiversity with many animal and plant species classified as being in danger of extinction. In 2012, about 34% of the 1,323 native flowering plants, around 54% of mammals and 24% of breeding birds, were considered at risk.

The country’s environmental policy thus faces some major challenges. Programs implemented during the period are looking to address: issues surrounding the country’s high recovery and recycling rate; new assessments of environmental sustainability questions; the achievement of sustainable protected forests reserves; monitoring nature conservation programs; the enlargement of energy counselling; a decrease in average per capita water consumption; the reduction of tax-privileged mileage allowances; and the implementation of an indicator based biodiversity monitoring framework.

Citations:
Green Climate Fund: http://www.greenclimate.fund/contributions/pledge-tracker/#states
Plant Protection National Action Plan: http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/docs/pesticides_sup_nap_luxembourg_en.pdf
Mesures pour assurer la qualité de l’eau potable: http://www.gouvernement.lu/4444990/12-qualite-eau?context=3393616

Global Environmental Protection

#10

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
7
Luxembourg was one of the first countries to complete an ecological footprint report, published in 2010 by the High Council for Sustainable Development (Conseil Supérieur pour un Développement Durable). Measuring sustainability, the ecological footprint report indicated that Luxembourg requires twice the amount of agricultural land and water to compensate for the resources consumed through the country’s high economic growth, high volume of road traffic and fuel sales to non-residents.

Fuel price alignment is however not considered to be a solution and will only transfer carbon emissions to neighboring countries. Instead, the government has to provide adequate public transportation for cross-border commuters who currently drive to work. The capital’s first tram is expected to start operating in 2017, to provide a more sustainable and eco-friendly public transport system.

For several years, the development of an international public transportation system has been discussed as a means of reducing carbon emissions, while also providing a sustainable mobility policy for the Greater Region.

Luxembourg needs to expand its renewable energy production. Biofuel production does not provide a long-term solution, as this simply relocates an environmental problem to other countries, especially emerging ones.

Citations:
Der Ökologische Fußabdruck Luxemburgs. Conseil supérieur pour un développement durable, www.myfootprint.lu/files/download.php?file=CSDD_Brochure_DE.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Dieschbourg, Carole. “”Nur sieben Prozent unserer Fließgewässer sind in einem guten Zustand”.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 27 Mar. 2014, www.gouvernement.lu/3595282/26-dieschbourg-revue?context=3316826. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Ein nachhaltiges Luxemburg für mehr Lebensqualität. Le gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2010. www.environnement.public.lu/developpement_durable/dossiers/pndd_2010/PNDD.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

OECD Economic Surveys Luxembourg. OECD, 2015. www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Luxembourg-2015-overview.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Turmes, Claude, and Henri Kox. Agrosprit - manner ass méi. Déi Gréng, 2012. www.greng.lu/sites/greng/files/20120910-PKAgrofuelsfinal.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.
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