Luxembourg

   

Environmental Policies

#7
Key Findings
Despite some difficulties in reaching ecological goals, Luxembourg scores well overall (rank 7) with respect to environmental policies. Its score in this area has improved by 1.1 points relative to 2014.

The country has made reasonable progress toward emission-reduction goals, though its current target of a 40% reduction compared to 2005, to be achieved by 2030, appears quite ambitious. The state invests heavily in international climate aid.

Drinking water quality has been a point of difficulty. A new Water Act will help farmers avoid groundwater contamination, and provide incentives to replace outdated sewage treatment plants.

A new Nature Conservation Act makes it easier for property developers and builders to pursue projects, while retaining conservation protections overall. Building regulations within “green zones” have been standardized, potentially avoiding arbitrary permit approval and project proliferation.

Environment

#8

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
The condition of the environment is in many areas in need of improvement. In particular, the quality of drinking water needs to be improved. Building on some initial 2008 initiatives, the government has introduced substantial legislation since 2013 to improve the situation.

Under the leadership of Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg, a new Water Act was passed, which 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 in their heating system. Now subsidies from water suppliers also flow directly to the farmers.

Other subsidies are also now distributed differently. Outdated sewage treatment plants now receive less funding. This has motivated many municipalities to finally build new or modernize old sewage treatment plants, in order to be able to benefit from the old regulations. Nevertheless, due to the outdated sewage treatment plants, the European Union imposed a fine on Luxembourg. Fortunately, a number of new sewage treatment plants are now being built. In addition, the new water law provides more money for flood protection.

In 2013, there was only one water protection zone in Luxembourg, although five more were being planned. In 2018, there were 11 water protection zones, with a further 24 being planned. Some of the planned water protection zones will be completed during the current review period, which will mean that the number of water protection zones will have increased 20-fold and 86% of all Luxembourg’s water sources will be protected.

A new Nature Conservation Act was passed by parliament, replacing the previous 2004 act. In the new law accessing compensation has been made easier. Previously, property developers and private builders had to plant a new tree at a different site or pay for every tree that was felled. Now, the state will take care of it, which is not only good for the environment, but will also make housing construction faster. Building owners, who want to make use of the model, have to pay in “eco-points.”

Another innovation in the Nature Conservation Act is the standardization of the conditions for resettlement. “Building regulations” for green zones will be identical throughout the country, which may stop the proliferation of buildings in green zones that previous environment ministers tolerated. A legal basis seems to be fairer than decisions “à la tête du client.”

In January 2018, a new forest law was adopted by parliament. It is intended to replace the previous patchwork of regulations, some of which have been in force since 1848. The new law embodies the spirit of sustainable forest management, although forest subsidies have been regulated since 2017. Now, there are monetary incentives for those who cultivate the soil gently, for example, with horses instead of heavy machinery.

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.” Letzebuerger 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.

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
8
International environmental protection policy is very 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 an important role in “green finance.” The “Forestry and Climate Change Fund,” which was launched in 2017 by the Luxembourg state, in cooperation with several banks and an insurance company, aims to help local farmers to sustainably manage deforested rainforests and secondary forests.

The latest climate goal for the Grand Duchy is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2005. 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.

So far, Luxembourg has failed to meet the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol on its own. Between 2008 and 2012, greenhouse gas emissions should have been reduced by 28% compared to 1990.

Since 2013, the common European goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. Emission allowances may no longer be traded internationally, only in Europe. According to the Secretary of State, the sectors in Luxembourg that cannot make use of the European certificate trade are “on track” – despite the fact that the population has grown considerably during this period. At the same time, however, less fuel was consumed.

Most 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 only travel to Luxembourg from abroad to refuel their cars, only contribute a small part.

As with national planning, the government now wants to rely on citizen participation. A third climate plan for Luxembourg is to be drafted under the title “Generating Climate: Climate Change Together for the Future.” Thus, 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.

Koch, Tonia: “Zwischen Tanktourismus und Anti-Diesel-Politik.” https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/luxemburg-zwischen-tanktourismus-und-anti-diesel-politik.795.de.html?dram:article_id=375321. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.

Schlammes, Marc: “Tanktourismus-Studie liegt vor: Kosten übertreffen Einnahmen,” in: Wort.lu, 25 November 2016. https://www.wort.lu/de/politik/tanktourismus-studie-liegt-vor-kosten-uebertreffen-einnahmen-583843705061e01abe83cb83. Accessed 8 Nov. 2018.
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