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 0.6 points relative to 2014.

The country has Europe’s highest energy consumption per capita and second-highest vehicle density, and in 2016 had the OECD’s highest level of CO2 emissions per capita. Emissions-reductions goals have been hampered by economic growth and the revenues earned from cross-border fuel purchasers. A new energy-intensive Google data center will add to this pressure.

Public transportation options for cross-border commuters are needed, though the capital’s first tram line began service in 2017. 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 Waste-water management systems are badly outdated.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 20% by 2020. However, government commitment to this target has been weak, due to significant tax revenues (€800 million) derived from fuel tourism. This is because around 75% of fuel sold in Luxembourg is exported. Indeed, fuel tourism has increased carbon emissions and negated Luxembourg’s emissions policies. With 17.61 metric tons of CO2, Luxembourg had the highest carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the OECD in 2016. The planned Google data center will add another energy-hungry consumer and further challenge Luxembourg’s emissions commitments.

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 second highest vehicle density after Malta (661 vehicles per 1,000 people in 2015) 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 (2015: 5%). Furthermore, only 36% (2014) of wastewater is treated in modern triple-phase sewage treatment plants. In 2011, the 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, accumulating to date to €5 million. The government has prioritized public expenditure for the construction of wastewater treatment plants. Following the court’s judgment, five of the six treatment plants have been modernized. In addition, the government announced further investments in new sewage treatment plants and water supply installations.

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

Furthermore, 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. Many animal and plant species are 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.

Thus, the country’s environmental policy faces major challenges. Programs implemented during this period are intending 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:
“Contribution agreement Luxembourg.” Green Climate Fund 2017, www.greenclimate.fund/documents/20182/29917/Contribution_agreement_-_Luxembourg.pdf/e9d61c5c-91ad-4329-8b93-389599520742. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“Kläranlagen kosteten bereits 5 Millionen an Strafe.“ Luxemburger Wort. 14 June 2017. www.lessentiel.lu/de/luxemburg/story/Klaeranlagen-kosteten-bereits-5-Millionen-an-Strafe-26666625. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“National Action Plan (NAP) for Luxembourg.” www.ec.europa.eu/food/plant/docs/pesticides_sup_nap_luxembourg_en.pdf


“Mesures pour assurer la qualité de l’eau potable”
www.gouvernement.lu/4444990/12-qualite-eau?context=3393616

“Rapport d´activité 2016.” Administration de la gestion de l’eau, 2017.
www.eau.public.lu/publications/rapports_activite/rapport_activite_2016.pdf

„Vierter Nationaler Energieeffizienz-Aktionsplan Luxemburg.“ Luxembourg, 2017.
www.gouvernement.lu/7180112/vierter-nationaler-energieeffizienzaktionsplan-luxembourg. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

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 (with the third longest traffic jam times in Europe in 2015) 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 must provide adequate public transport for cross-border commuters who currently drive to work. The capital’s first tram line started in 2017 and will be expanded in the coming years to provide a more sustainable and eco-friendly public transport system. In 2018, €828 million will be invested to expand transportation infrastructure.

For several years, the development of an international public transport 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, since biofuel production does not provide a long-term solution and simply relocates an environmental problem to other countries, in particular emerging countries.

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

CSDD Gutachten über den 2. Nationalen Klimaschutzplan mit Empfehlungen für den 3. Klimaschutzplan. Conseil supérieur pour un développement durable, 2017
www.csdd.public.lu/content/dam/csdd/fr/avis/2017/gutachten-csdd-klimaschutz-2642017.pdf. Accessed 21 Dec. 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.

World Data Atlas 2017. www.knoema.com/atlas/ranks/CO2-emissions-per-capita?baseRegion=LU&origin=knoema.de. Accessed 21 Dec. 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 Publishing, 2017. www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Luxembourg-2017-OECD-economic-survey-overview.pdfAccessed 4 Dec. 2017.
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