Romania                                        By Ioana Ciuta (TERRA Mileniul III, Romania)


Basic information





Mt CO2



Mt CO2



2007 %



year  %

Kyoto target



















No target




GDP Growth



GDP Growth



GDP Growth (est.) %

Gross Inland Energy Consumption Change

Feb.2009/ Feb.2008     %








Source: EEA Report No. 5/2007


The emissions trend reflects the changes in this period, characterized by transition to a market economy. The emissions trend can be split into two parts: the period of 1989-1996 and the period of 1996-2006. The decline of economic activities and energy consumption from 1989 to 1992 directly caused the decrease of total emissions in that period. With the entire economy in transition, some energy-intensive industries reduced their activities, and this is reflected in the GHG-emissions reduction. Emissions increased again until 1996 because of the economy revitalization. Considering commissioning of the first reactor at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant (1996), the emissions decreased again in 1997. The decrease continued until 1999. The increased trend after 1999 reflects the economic development in the period 1999-2004. The limited decrease of GHG emissions in 2005 compared with the 2004 and 2006 levels was caused by the record-breaking hydrological year, whch positively influenced the energy produced in hydropower plants.


All GHG emissions decreased compared to those of the base year (1989). The contributing shares of GHG emissions have not significantly changed during the period. The largest contributor to total GHG emissions is CO2, followed by CH4 and N2O. Energy (including transport) represents the most important sector in Romania. The Energy sector accounted for 67.29% of the total national GHG emissions in 2006. The GHG emissions resulting from the Energy sector decreased by 44.04% compared with the base year (considering that the GHG emissions in the transport sector have increased considerably). Industrial Processes contribute to total GHG emissions with 13.28%. A significant decrease of GHG emissions was registered in this sector (52.58% decrease from 1989 to 2006) due to the decline or the termination of certain production activities. Agricultural GHG emissions have also decreased. The GHG emissions in 2006 are 50.28% lower in comparison with the 1989 emissions. In 2006, 12.89% of the total GHG emissions came from the agriculture sector. LULUCF CO2 removals by sinks are 14.87 % higher in comparison with the base year. Waste-sector emissions have increased in the period 1989-2006 (20.22%). Contribution of the waste sector to the total GHG emission was 6.41% in 2006. The total GHG emissions in 2006, excluding removals by sinks, amounted to 156,680.02 Gg CO2 equivalent. According to the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol, Romania has committed itself to reduce its GHG emissions by 8% in the period 2008-2012 compared to the base year, 1989 (281,894.91 Gg CO2 equivalent). The total GHG emissions (without considering sinks) decreased by 44.42% in the period 1989-2006, and the net GHG emissions (taking into account the CO2 removals) decreased by 52.18% in the same period. Based on these observations, there is a great probability that Romania will satisfy its commitments to reduce GHG emissions in the first commitment period, 2008-2012, even if Romania’s annual economic growth has been spectacular in the last 2-3 years – 7-8% annually.









GDP (annual variation in %)







Consumption (ann.var. in %)







Investment (ann.var. in %)







Industrial Production (ann.var. in %







Retail Sales (annual variation in %)







Unemployment (%)









Public attitude towards Climate Change (CC)


Currently, 3 national awareness campaigns regarding climate change are being carried out in Romania: by the Ministry of Environment, by WWF and by Petrom-OMV (as part of their CSR program). These are being broadcasted on the national television channel, as a result of which a high percentage of the population has at least heard of “climate change”.


The latest Eurobarometer (September 2008) shows that 73% of the population in Romania perceives climate change as a very serious problem. At the same time, TERRA III has conducted a sociological survey, which reveals that 60 % of the population sees global warming as a very serious problem in the world, but only 51% sees it as a very serious problem for Romania.  Given the information that is generally presented in the media, the population associates climate change with extreme weather phenomena (i.e., tornados – 2 in the last 2 years – as well as floods and severe drought). In 2008, the floods in northern and western Romania caused 5 deaths, affecting nearly 8900 houses and over 1000 km of national roads according to a UN report.  Thus, climate change is not viewed as beneficial for Romania.


Although the population seems highly aware of climate change, when it comes to practical actions that individuals can apply to mitigate this, 56% of the population says they are reducing the consumption of water and energy in their homes, but this also relates to an economic motivation. Only 7% have reduced the use of personal cars, and 28% think that changing their behavior will not have a real impact on climate change (Eurobarometer).


NGOs’ activities


Romanian environmental NGOs do not have a specific focus on climate change, and certainly not on shaping CC-related policy. Of the approximately 15 active NGOs working on environmental protection from the climate change point of view, there are no more than 5 dealing with specific measures and practical activities to mitigate climate change and reduce GHG emissions (such as solar energy practical applications, insulation etc.). Last year, “Reteaua de Actiune pentru Clima –Romania” (Climate Action Network– Romania; not affiliated yet to CAN-Europe) was founded by 10 NGOs in 7 towns in Romania, working together to reduce the impact of human activities on the climate and to mitigate climate change.


This is planned to be achieved through an increase in the public’s and decision-makers’ awareness of climate change; through an increase in public participation in the prevention and mitigation of climate change; and through an improvement in the quality of education regarding the environment and climate change. Climate Action Network – Romania is the national focal point for education under the UNFCCC. The trend in most of the environmental NGOs in Romania is to focus on educational projects for teachers and students and on information/awareness campaigns for the general public in the form of contests or information road-shows.


We have to mention that, since EU accession, traditional European funding for the NGO sector has decreased continuously. The companies’ CSR programs prove not to be very helpful either, because, generally, environmental organizations refuse funding from the polluters, which seek a good image on their account. This is considered one of the main reasons why the environmental sector is now lacking strength. The IPCC 4th Report and the Stern report ae the main tools used by the NGOs in their documentation of climate change issues.


Media coverage of CC


Romanian media are very oriented towards commercial, scandalous news; therefore, the topic of climate change is not approached from a phenomenological point of view, or even an economical one. The only time the media presents the topic of climate change is when the country faces severe weather events, such as floods or drought, but even then, the stories revolve around local authorities’ actions, in general. Present GHG reduction targets and future post-Kyoto targets are not considered important topics by the media.


The general impression is that the journalists tackling this topic lack background information, previous education on related domains, and the willingness to investigate. All of these factors considered, there are a few reliable journalists, particularly in the online media, who wish to understand the topic before they publish about it and who wish to approach it responsibly.


Policies and Measures


One option offered to reduce the cost of emissions is to use the flexible mechanisms, but Romania does not have an adequate legislative framework prepared? to enable it to act as an investor country for CDM or even JI.  It has already missed the start-up that, due to the demand generated by the EU-ETS, has driven the quick development of international project credit markets. The Government has not yet started a public discussion of post-2012 targets, being reluctant to make a political commitment in the absence of some diagnostic studies that could offer some sectorial information. With regards to EU Effort-Sharing, Romania has not formulated a position, given the fact that its GHG emissions are already 19% below the set target. The Emission Trading System isn’t considered a way to GHG reduction that is openly supported by the Government and industry. There are numerous disputes between the Ministries of Environment and Economy, which consider that allocations to companies are a heavy burden. At the end of 2007, when the European Commission set the new target for the national allocation plan (20% below the baseline, for 2008-2012), there was a scandal at the government level, with threats to sue the EC.


The EU-ETS only started in 2007, when Romania became the EU member state. However, the national allocation plan for 2007 was adopted in late 2007, when the price for CO2 was 7 EUR  cents/tonne. Another drawback was that the GHG emissions registry was launched in early 2008. There were companies that had an over-allocation, but they didn’t manage to trade this surplus in time. According to the IPCC, Annex I Parties will need to reduce GHG emissions to “between 25 and 40 per cent below 1990 levels for the period beyond 2012”. Given the fact that the GHG emissions’ level is 40% below the baseline, there is great potential in this respect, but a political decision is needed. The population is not ready yet to accept higher energy prices, and the companies are still not considering environmental issues as a priority. Regarding the government’s actions to inform the public on how to reduce GHG emissions, we can mention a weak awareness campaign of the Ministry of Environment. There is no coordination between the ministries, and there are no set priorities to use renewable energy sources.


Measures for promoting RES

Romania has adopted the mandatory quota system combined with the trade system, with minimum and maximum price limits set up by the energy regulator for green certificates, which is functional until 2012 (between 24 and 42 euros/certificate). The promotion system applies to electricity produced from wind, solar, biomass, wave energy, and hydrogen produced from renewable sources as well as the electricity produced in hydropower units with installed power under 10 MW that entered operation or were refurbished during or after 2004.  The system does not establish fractions coming from given technologies. Electricity suppliers must have in their portfolio a certain quota of renewable electricity (0.7% in 2005, increasing each year and reaching 8.3% in 2012) that they would sell to domestic consumers. For each MWh of renewable electricity delivered to the grid, producers receive from the System and Transport Operator a green certificate which can be traded on the green certificates market (bilateral and/or centralized) for prices between established limits of EUR 24-42/certificate. Even though this has proven to be an inefficient system and although the annual quota was decreased, the government supports it, in spite of severe criticism from the experts who tried to replace this with the feed-in-tariff. The government’s refusal to switch to a feed-in-tariff is related to the population’s inability to support the contribution to this system.


The National Energy Strategy for the period 2007-2020 focuses mainly on energy production from fossil fuel, particularly coal and gas, followed by large hydro and nuclear energy. It’s noticeable that the Government intention is to increase energy exports. The electricity production from thermal power plants is expected to grow from 36.7 TWh in 2008 to 45.9 TWh in 2020.  Although production from natural gas and oil will decrease, coal use for electricity production will increase from 25. 7 TWh in 2008 to 34.9 TWh in 2020.  A considerable focus in the Strategy is on nuclear energy, given the fact that 2 more units (706 MW installed capacity each) are planned to start operating by 2015 within Cernavoda NPP.