Lithuania has significantly boosted its use of renewable energy and waste recycling but needs to do better in managing environmental impacts of transport and agriculture. Policies will also need to be strengthened considerably for Lithuania to reach its 2030 and beyond climate targets and to improve biodiversity and water quality, according to a new OECD report.
The OECD’s first Environmental Performance Review of Lithuania finds that while the share of renewables in Lithuania’s energy supply more than doubled to 22% over 2005-18, twice the OECD average, greenhouse gas emissions have remained at the same level for a decade, as rapid growth in car and truck use led to a 38% rise in emissions from road transport since 2009. With Lithuania’s low population density and dispersed towns making road transport the dominant mode of travel for passengers and freight, transport emissions are projected to rise steeply until at least 2024 without additional measures. The Review also looks at pressures on water quality and biodiversity from agriculture and finds that a shift towards intensive crop cultivation is worsening river and coastal water pollution from mineral fertilisers. It calls for stricter limits for fertiliser use and awareness-raising initiatives for farmers.
Among its Recommendations, the Review suggests that Lithuania:
- Identify and exploit synergies between climate policies and priorities in business development, energy security, air and water quality, quality-of-life and housing. Develop a coherent roadmap for the transition to net zero that specifies the role of transport.
- Optimise the use of EU funds, notably the recovery funding, to accelerate implementation and monitor progress of the National Energy and Climate Plan and other relevant policies.
- Increase taxes on internal combustion engine vehicles with a view to gradually removing the cost differential with electric vehicles. Extend the network of charging stations, improve walking and cycling conditions, phase out free parking at workplaces and consider making public transport and bike-sharing services eligible for workplace benefits.
- Reduce ammonia emissions by regulating mineral fertiliser application and implementing good farming practices such as integrated livestock manure management.
- Maintain the strong progress to date in waste reuse and recovery by expanding programmes to encourage behavioural change and incentivise better waste sorting by households. Encourage a whole-of-lifecycle design of products and construction materials.