Lithuania

   

Environmental Policies

#5
Key Findings
Despite a high energy intensity, Lithuania falls into the top ranks (rank 5) with regard to environmental policies. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.3 points since 2014.

CO2 emissions are declining, and renewable energy accounts for more than 25% of production, already exceeding its Europe 2020 target. EU structural funds have helped make substantial improvements to water-supply and sewage infrastructures. However, the European Commission has cited the county for failing to comply with EU wastewater treatment standards.

The recycling rate is well below the EU average, and the country’s infrastructure for waste sorting and recycling is underdeveloped. The country scores well on rankings related to agriculture, biodiversity and habitat, and ecosystem vitality.

The parliament approved a national climate-change strategy in 2012. It is not generally a leader on global environmental strategies, but takes a more active role on regional issues such as the Baltic Sea. Concerns over the safety of nuclear power plants being built in neighboring Belarus have become an important issue.

Environment

#5

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
8
Lithuania’s environmental performance varies significantly by sector. Lithuania’s energy intensity is more than twice the EU average, with the residential-housing sector being particularly energy-inefficient. The country is progressing toward a low-carbon economy, with CO2 emissions declining. Lithuania is likely to achieve its Europe 2020 greenhouse-gas emission targets. The proportion of energy produced from renewable sources in Lithuania reached 25.8% in 2017, above the country’s Europe 2020 target of 23%. The heating sector, where the share of renewables reached 46.5%, largely contributed to this achievement. A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will reduce Lithuania’s dependence on energy imports. Water-supply and sewage infrastructure has benefited substantially over the years through the use of EU structural funds. However, providing adequate connections to the public water supply still remains a challenge in some cases. Moreover, wastewater treatment is inadequate in some respects, with significant differences evident between rural and urban areas. In February 2017, the European Commission initiated an infringement procedure against Lithuania for failing to comply with EU wastewater treatment requirements.

In the Environmental Performance Index 2018, Lithuania ranked 29th out of 180 countries, with the best rankings in the areas of agriculture, biodiversity and habitat, and ecosystem vitality, and the worst ranking in the category of forests (119th). With respect to biodiversity, Lithuania’s protected areas cover 15.6% of the country’s territory, but only 22% of habitat types and 54% of the protected species in Lithuania are subject to preservation efforts, according to European Commission reports. The country’s municipal waste recycling rate reached 34.9% in 2013, well below the EU recycling average. Infrastructure for waste sorting and recycling is insufficiently developed, and most non-hazardous waste is disposed of in landfills. Landfilling remains the predominant way of disposing of waste in Lithuania as it is the cheapest option for municipal waste management.

Citations:
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT, country report Lithuania 2017: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/2017-european-semester-country-report-lithuania-en.pdf
The Article 17 EU Habitats Directive Reports available at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/knowledge/rep_habitats/
The Environmental Protection Index is available at http://epi.yale.edu/epi2012/country profiles
Environmental Performance Index 2018, https://epi.envirocenter.yale.edu/sites/default/files/2018-ltu.pdf

Global Environmental Protection

#8

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
Lithuanian policymakers do contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental-protection regimes, but this policy area is not perceived as a government priority. Lithuania has demonstrated commitment to existing regimes (especially those promulgated by the EU or promoted by its institutions) by incorporating international or European environmental provisions into national legislation or strategic documents and implementing them. For example, in 2012, the Lithuanian parliament approved a national policy strategy on climate-change management as a further step in implementing Lithuania’s commitments in the area of climate change and energy. Although Lithuanian policymakers are not usually active in advancing global environmental strategies, Lithuania contributed to the Warsaw Climate Change Conference in 2013 as part of its presidency of the European Council. In addition, Lithuania successfully initiated the 2013 U.N. resolution on cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea. The country’s institutions are most active at the regional level, for instance addressing issues related to the Baltic Sea. In recent years, concerns about the safety of nuclear power plants under construction in neighboring Belarus have become an important issue.
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