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.

While some water-quality progress has been made, water bodies are often polluted. The renewable-energy share is quite low, and waste-water management systems are badly outdated.

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. Luxembourg’s Kyoto Protocol pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 28% by 2012 was hampered by tax revenues from fuel tourism, which led to high carbon emissions and the negation of emissions policies. In addition, the country’s dynamic economic growth and new car leasing by cross-border workers has also been cited as a reason for increasing carbon emissions. Luxembourg shows Europe’s highest energy consumption per capita, the highest vehicle density (660 vehicles per 1,000 people in 2014) and highest renewal rate of passenger cars (12.5%). Despite the contentious debate over environmental liability, Luxembourg was the only EU country to reduce its biofuel ratio in 2012. From 2015 until 2020, Luxembourg is slated to pay an annual contribution of €5 million into the Green Climate Fund, which was born out of the Kyoto Protocol.

Luxembourg also shows the EU’s lowest share of renewable-resources consumption (2.1%), while only 36% of the country’s 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.” Since 2013, Luxembourg has paid a penalty of €2,800 per day as a result. The government has thus prioritized expenditure for the construction of wastewater-treatment plants. The 2016 budget allocates €110 million for significant investment in new sewage-treatment installations.

Luxembourg’s water systems are of comparatively poor quality (contaminated with pesticides, etc.), with only 7% of its rivers and streams in “good” condition. There are problems with waste-water treatment and drinking-water supplies if summers are very dry. Monitoring of water systems is regarded as insufficient. To improve drinking-water quality, the environmental administration planned to designate 80 drinking-water protection areas in 2015.

Almost 60% of the country’s deep wells have pesticide residues, especially in the south of the country. Although Luxembourg committed to the OECD and EU Pesticide Risk Reduction Project, the government implemented this belatedly, with the result that the community framework for the sustainable use of plant-protection products (2009/128/EG) directive entered into national law only in December 2014.

For several years, the Ministry of Sustainable Development (Département de l’environnement) has promoted a campaign to reduce the use of pesticides, particularly in communal areas and private gardens. In 2015, 75% of Luxembourg’s municipalities committed themselves to reducing the use of pesticides. But obligations to environmental protection usually refer to the public and private use of pesticides, and do not focus enough on agriculture, the largest contributor. After pesticides contaminated much of the country’s groundwater in 2014, the government decided to ban the use of two pesticides, Métolachlore in general and Métazachlore in certain areas.

Although the country’s per capita water consumption has decreased, levels are still high by cross-EU standards. Luxembourg’s annual per capita fresh-water abstraction rate (private water consumption) has diminished quite considerably by 12%, for an average of 80.35 cubic meters, compared to 85 cubic meters in 2012. On the other hand, with 653 kilograms of yearly municipal waste generated per person in 2013 (687 in 2011), Luxembourg takes second place behind the EU-28’s top country, Denmark.

As of 2011, Luxembourg showed Europe’s highest degree of landscape fragmentation, fostering concerns over the country’s biodiversity, with many animal and plant species regarded 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 and looking forward addressed or will 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 counseling; 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:
http://www.greenclimate.fund/contributions/pledge-tracker/#states
http://www.wort.lu/de/politik/un-klimafonds-Luxembourg-gibt-fuenf-millionen-euro-5422a07bb9b398870806aa45
http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/de/publications/c/statec-lux-chiffres/statec-lux-chiffres-2015-DE.pdf
http://apis.lu/files/Dossier_MECO_FUAL.pdf
http://www.environnement.public.lu/developpement_durable/dossiers/pndd_2010/PNDD.pdf
http://www.gouvernement.lu/4079297/10-trinkwasser
http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pesticides/sustainable_use_pesticides/docs/nap_luxembourg_en.pdf
http://chd.lu/wps/portal/public/RoleEtendu?action=doDocpaDetails&backto=/wps/portal/public&id=6834#
http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pesticides/sustainable_use_pesticides/index_en.htm
http://www.gouvernement.lu/4444990/12-qualite-eau?context=3393616
http://www.environnement.public.lu/conserv_nature/biodiv/de/Luxembourg
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-11-1273_en.htm
http://www.greng.lu/sites/greng/files/20120709-PK%20Sauer-Waasser-Velo-final%20.pdf
http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&plugin=1&pcode=t2020_rd300&language=en
http://www.gouvernement.lu/4876211/2014-rapport-activite-agriculture
http://www.wort.lu/de/lokales/alzette-anrainer-komplettes-versagen-beim-gewaesserschutz-56010b490c88b46a8ce60a95
http://www.lessentiel.lu/de/news/Luxembourg/story/17721967
https://www.gouvernement.lu/3595282/26-dieschbourg-revue?context=3316826
http://www.statistiques.public.lu/fr/actualites/economie-finances/comptes-finances/2014/08/20140806/20140806.pdf
http://www.statistiques.public.lu/catalogue-publications/luxembourg/2012/PDF-18-12.pdf
http://www.statistiques.public.lu/catalogue-publications/economie-statistiques/2014/76-2014.pdf
http://www.wort.lu/en/politics/emissions-vs-tax-revenue-the-pros-and-cons-of-fuel-tourism-53df4e68b9b398870804fcb3
http://www.wort.lu/de/view/Luxembourg-tut-sich-schwer-mit-dem-gewaesserschutz-5109ec4fe4b04af8b813ce57
http://www.wort.lu/en/luxembourg/ministry-says-water-safe-for-consumption-pesticide-pollution-exceeds-eu-norms-5436bba6b9b3988708074791

Global Environmental Protection

#11

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. After considerable discussions, the government decided to create a quite expensive tramway project in the capital to provide a more sustainable and eco-friendly public transport system. For many years, there have also been discussions about sustainable and convenient international public-transportation systems that might serve to reduce transborder emissions. Moreover, public transportation in the country has to be expanded in the context of an overall sustainable-mobility policy.

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:
http://www.environnement.public.lu/developpement_durable/dossiers/pndd_2010/PNDD.pdf
http://www.gouvernement.lu/4765382/dac-peer-review-2012
https://www.gouvernement.lu/3595282/26-dieschbourg-revue?context=3316826
http://www.greng.lu/sites/greng/files/20120910-PKAgrofuelsfinal.pdf
http://www.myfootprint.lu/files/download.php?file=CSDD_Brochure_Interieur_2013_PROD_BasseDef.pdf
http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Luxembourg-2015-overview.pdf
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