Luxembourg

   

Environmental Policies

#8
Key Findings
With increasing attention being paid to climate-change issues, Luxembourg scores well overall (rank 8) with respect to environmental policies. Its score in this area has improved by 1.3 points relative to 2014.

The country has made reasonable progress toward emissions-reduction goals, though its current target of a 40% reduction compared to 2005, to be achieved by 2030, appears quite ambitious. The state has made all public transportation free to users, is expanding the tram network and provides support for the purchase of e-bikes. Fuel consumption is on the decline.

Under the current strategy, future emissions-reduction goals are to be attained through a CO2 tax, electrification of automobile traffic, introduction of higher energy-efficiency standards for new residential buildings, and replacement of oil heating with renewable energy sources.

Sewage treatment has been an area of some concern. The country makes substantial contributions to international climate aid funds, and was slated to launch its first sustainability bond in 2020, with proceeds earmarked for climate, environmental and social issues.

Environment

#12

How effectively does environmental policy in your country protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and environmental quality?

10
 9

Environmental policy goals are ambitious and effectively implemented as well as monitored within and across most relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy goals are mainly ambitious and effectively implemented and are monitored within and across some of the relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy goals are neither particularly ambitious nor are they effectively implemented and coordinated across relevant policy sectors.
 2
 1

Environmental concerns have been largely abandoned.
Environmental Policy
8
The government placed a high priority on the issue of climate change in its 2020 budget. Public transport will be made free to users throughout Luxembourg from March 2020 onwards, which will cost the state about €40 million a year. Moreover, €200 million will be spent on expanding the tram network and €1.3 billion on an expansion of the country’s railway infrastructure. The state also provides financial support for the purchase of e-bikes.

Under the leadership of Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg, a new Water Act was passed that came into force in the summer of 2017, replacing the Water Act of 2008. Farmers can now receive transfer payments from the water fund, which was not possible in the past. Previously, only private individuals and municipalities could apply for subsidies, for example if they minimized the risk of contaminating groundwater by replacing oil with a renewable energy source for their heating system. Subsidies from water suppliers are also provided directly to the farmers.

Other subsidies are also distributed differently now. Outdated sewage treatment plants now receive less funding than previously. This has motivated many municipalities to build new sewage treatment plants or modernize old ones, in order to be able to benefit from the old regulations. Nevertheless, there are still problems with sewage treatment plants. Due to a technical defect in a sewage treatment plant in the capital’s Beggen district, the Alzette river was very heavily polluted in the autumn of 2019. The fish population dropped to almost nothing, with thousands of fish dying. More generally, sewage treatment plants in Petingen, Schifflingen and Beggen have been expanded, and the municipalities on the Moselle have been connected to wastewater treatment plants. However, a fourth stage of filtering that would filter out micro-sized particles and drug residues is largely absent. In 2019, chemicals resulting from the molecular breakdown of the pesticide metazachlor were detected in 80% of all water samples. The substance has been banned since 2015, but is still used in agriculture.

The government plans to achieve the major goals of the National Climate and Energy Plan (NECP) by 2030 through implementation of the following main measures: a CO2 tax; the electrification of car, bus and truck traffic; the introduction of the A+ energy-efficiency standard for new residential buildings; improvement of the “PRIMe House” support program for the climate bank; replacement of oil heating with renewable energy sources or connection to heating networks; introduction of the Nearly Zero Energy Standard for functional buildings; and an expansion of heating networks.

Citations:
“Carole Dieschbourg et Claude Turmes au Conseil Environnement.” Communiqué 25 Juin 2018. https://gouvernement.lu/fr/gouvernement/turmes_claude/actualites.gouvernement%2Bfr%2Bactualites%2Btoutes_actualites%2Bcommuniques%2B2018%2B06-juin%2B25-conseil-environnement.html. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.
“Die Aufsteigerin.” Lëtzebuerger Journal. 23 August 2018. http://www.journal.lu/top-navigation/article/umweltministerin-carole-dieschbourg-setzt-auf-politik-mit-augenmass/ Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.
“Wenn das Wasser knapp wird.” Luxemburger Wort. 20 August 2018. https://www.wort.lu/de/lokales/wenn-das-wasser-knapp-wird-5b51e4b9182b657ad3b90435. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.
Christian Block: “Wie Luxemburg seine Klimaziele erreichen will - Was bislang bekannt ist.” https://www.journal.lu/top-navigation/article/in-der-schnelluebersicht/. Accessed 12 Dec. 2019.
Raymond Klein: “Klimaplan enthüllt: Malen nach Zahlen.” WOXX, 6 Dec. 2019, https://www.woxx.lu/klimaplan-enthuellt-malen-nach-zahlen/. Accessed 12 Dec. 2019.

Global Environmental Protection

#6

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, contributes to their being advanced and has introduced 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 contributes to their being advanced and/or has introduced some appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but does not contribute to their being advanced and has not introduced appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
9
International environmental-protection policy is important to the current government. Luxembourg has planned to invest a total of €120 million in international climate aid between 2014 and 2020. To date, €100 million has already been pledged with a further €12 million to be donated to NGOs. In addition, Luxembourg also plays a significant role in green finance. The Forestry and Climate Change Fund, which was launched in 2017 by Luxembourg’s government in cooperation with several banks and an insurance company aims to help farmers manage deforested rainforests and secondary forests sustainably.

The latest climate goal for the Grand Duchy is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% as compared to 2005 by 2030. According to current estimates, Luxembourg could reach the Kyoto Protocol climate goals by 2020. However, the goal of a 40% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions between 2020 and 2030 presents a considerable challenge.

In autumn 2019, it was stated that Luxembourg would contribute around €200 million to the international climate fund by 2024. Therefore, the country is doubling its efforts, from a financial perspective. In addition, Luxembourg has launched a Sustainable Finance Initiative to develop a coherent sustainable finance strategy. In 2020, Luxembourg was slated to launch its first sustainability bond, worth € 1 billion. Its proceeds were to be earmarked for climate, environment and social issues.

Since 2013, the common European goal is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 20%. Emission allowances may only be traded in Europe, not internationally. According to Luxembourg’s Secretary of State, the country’s sectors that cannot make use of the European certificate trade are “on track,” even though the country’s population has grown considerably during this period. Moreover, fuel consumption has been on the decline in recent years.

The majority of greenhouse-gas emissions (in non-certified sectors) are caused by the mobility sector (64.2% in 2016), followed by buildings (19.1% in 2016) and agriculture (9.1% in 2016). Fuel tourists, people who travel to Luxembourg and back simply to refuel their cars, contribute only a small part of this total.

As with national planning more generally, the government is seeking to spur citizen participation in the area of climate-change policy. A third climate plan for Luxembourg is to be drafted under the title “Generating Climate: Climate Change Together for the Future.” In this process, citizens are able to participate in working groups.

Citations:
“Politique pour la protection du climat: bilan et enjeux futurs – Solidarité internationale – coopération avec les communes – mesures ciblées nationales.” https://gouvernement.lu/fr/gouvernement/carole-dieschbourg/actualites.gouvernement%2Bfr%2Bactualites%2Btoutes_actualites%2Barticles%2B2018%2B01-janvier%2B27-protection-climat.html. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Interview Carole Dieschbourg in the Börsen-Zeitung [Germany]: “Green Finance hat eine sehr große Zukunft vor sich.” 15 Mai 2018. https://gouvernement.lu/de/actualites/toutes_actualites/interviews/2018/05-mai/26-dieschbourg-borsen-zeitung.html. Accessed 27 Nov. 2018.

Pierre Gramegna et Carole Dieschbourg présentent la nouvelle «Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Roadmap». https://environnement.public.lu/fr/actualites/2018/octobre2018/lux_sustainable_finance_roadmap.html. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

“Ermittlung und Bewertung der positiven und negativen Wirkungen des Treibstoffverkaufs unter besonderer Berücksichtigung negativer externer Umwelt-und Gesundheitseffekte –Status quo 2012 und maßnahmeninduzierte Veränderungen. Bericht für das Ministerium für Nachhaltige Entwicklung und Infrastrukturen des Großherzogtums Luxemburg.” Kurzfassung Mai 2016. https://environnement.public.lu/dam-assets/actualites/2019/04/Studie-Treibstoffverkauf-Kurzfassung.pdf. Accessed 6th Dec. 2019.
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