Climate Change Policy in the Western Balkan countries



Western Balkan consists of Albania and the ex Yugoslav countries Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The region as a whole, being part of the Mediterranean, is among the most vulnerable regions to climate change, in Europe. Politically all Western Balkan countries are on their way to join the European Union: Croatia and Macedonia are candidate countries; Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia are potential candidates.


All countries, except for Kosovo which is not a UN member yet, signed and ratified both the UN Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. Croatia is the only Annex I country, while Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are Non Annex I countries.


Brief overview of the GHG emissions in each country




Albania submitted the Second National Communication in November 2009. According to this report total GHG emissions in Albania in 2000 were 7619.90 Gg CO2eq. Main contributing sector is energy (44.00 %), followed by agriculture (27.12 %) and land use change and forestry (21.60 %). The share of LUCF is significantly reducing, while the shares of energy and waste are rising. Among energy sub-sectors, transport is the fastest growing sector.


GHG emissions per capita in Albania are 2.47 tones CO2eq per capita. More than 90% of the electricity in Albania is produced by hydro power plants. The main mitigation measures Albanian Communication suggests are in the energy sector and together they represent 95 % of total reduction for the year 2025. The greatest part of this reduction is planned to come from two gas power plants.


The projection of the Albanian GHG emissions (baseline scenario and abatement scenario with mitigation measures in all sectors) by 2025 as presented in the Second National Communication:



Bosnia and Herzegovina


The Initial Communication under the UNFCCC of Bosnia and Herzegovina (prepared by Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of Republika Srpska) was adopted in Banja Luka, in April 2010. However, to this date the document is still not published on the UNFCCC web site. According to this document the most significant source of CO2 emissions is the energy sector, which contributes with 74% to the total CO2 emissions. Other emis­sion sources include agriculture (12%), industrial processes (11%), and waste (3%). In the energy sector, solid fuels-coal make the largest proportion (77%), followed by liquid fuels (17%) and gas (6%).


Total GHG emissions (without LUCF) for the base year 1990 in Bosnia and Herzegovina were 34,043.49 Gg CO2eq; With LUCF it was 26,619.96 CO2eq - according to the collected data, forests in BiH represent a significant CO2 sink: 7,423.53 Gg CO2 for the base year of 1990. The Initial National Communication of Bosnia and Herzegovina does not provide any information on the GHG emissions per capita, nor it has total GHG emissions projections.





The Initial National Communication of Montengro was published in May 2010. The document states that in 1990, total GHG emissions amounted to 4,585.28 Gg CO2eq (i.e. 5,070.28 Gg if the contribution of absorption is excluded). CO2 is the main greenhouse gas with a share of 53.08 %. 92 % of CO2 emissions is contributed by the energy sector; the remaining 8 % come from industrial emissions. The total equivalent emission of CO2 (including the absorption) per capita amounts to 7.7 t Co2eq/person.


According to the projections of GHG emissions in the baseline scenario, the level of GHG emissions in 2025 would increase by approximately 40%, in comparison with 1990. According to the scenario with measures to reduce GHG emissions, the projected level of GHG emissions in 2025 is lower by approximately 46% compared to the level for the same year in the baseline scenario, and lower by 25% than the level of GHG emissions in 1990.





At this moment Serbia is working on the Initial Communication under the UNFCCC, the draft version of the Communication was presented in October 2010. According to this (draft) document in 1998 total GHG emissions, without sinks were 66 346 Gg CO2eq. Energy sector is the greatest contributor with 76,19%, followed by agriculture with 14,32%. CO2eq.

CO2 is the main greenhouse gas and over 90% of the emitted CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels for energy.


Projections for GHG Emissions in Serbia by 2015 – basic and alternative scenario:







Croatia is the only Annex I country from Western Balkans and published the Second, Third and Fourth Communication (in one publication) in November 2006. According to this document in 2003 the total greenhouse gas emission in Croatia amounted to 29.8 million t CO2eq, which are a 5% rise compared to 2002 and a 6.3% lower compared to 1990 emissions. The highest emissions of greenhouse gases in 2003 originate from energy sector (75.8%), agriculture (10.8%), industrial processes (9.0%) and waste management (4.3%). The main greenhouse gas is CO2 (77%). With its share of 91.3% energy sector is the major source of CO2. CO2emissions from this sector are permanently increasing and are 58.7% higher than in 1995, which is due to the sharp increase in the number of cars, fuel consumption and traffic intensity.


The projections for GHG emissions in Croatia show that according to the “with measures” scenario the total emission in the first commitment period (2008-2012) will be 5.22 million t CO2eq above the commitment under the Kyoto Protocol. The “with additional measures” scenario predicts the emission reduction by a total of 10 million t CO2eq in 2020, thus exceeding the Kyoto limit by 1.3 million t CO2eq.



NGOs activities


There are several NGOs active in the field of climate change (especially energy) in Western Balkan countries and in April 2009, on a conference in Skopje*, some of these organizations united in a Southeast Europe Network for Energy and Transport (SEE.NET). SEE.NET members agree that:

-          national governments in the region are still focused on construction of new generation capacities in traditional technologies - mainly coal and large hydropower, both of which have serious negative impact on the environment;

-          local governments generally lack capacity to develop their own energy plans or policies;

-          most civil sector stakeholders (unions, farmers associations, youth groups, etc.) see energy as an issue outside of their field of interest;

-          environmental NGOs in the region have until now been the most active in promoting energy efficiency and greater use of renewables, but, due to the lack of capacity, often in a sporadic, uncoordinated and reactive manner.


The Network was created because all members realized that there is a great need for more active and strategic involvement of environmental and other NGOs in the promotion and development of policies for greater energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, both in the energy and transport sectors, on regional, national and local level in SEE countries.


SEE.NET vision is a prosperous South East Europe in which fossil and nuclear fuels been phased out before mid-century, and replaced by, mostly locally owned and managed, renewable energy sources in environmentally and socially sustainable energy and transport sectors.




*SEE.NET was created within the EC supported project “Networking and Capacity Building of environmental NGOs to Increase Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources of Energy in Western Balkans”, implemented by Green Action/ FoE Croatia, Citizen’s Association Front 21/42 from Macedonia, Center for Environment from Bosnia and Herzegovina, INFORSE Europe and Global 2000 from Austria.