Kyoto targets: EU succeeding
By Anne Eckstein | Monday 29 October 2012
In spite of a 48% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) since 1990
(1), the EU27 reduced emissions by 18% between 1990 and 2010. The trend continued in 2011, states the European Commission’s annual report on progress in meeting the Kyoto targets, which was released on 24 October
(2). These figures, adds the Commission, show that the EU15 and the 12 new member states (that have joined the EU as from 2004) that have made individual commitments are well on track to meeting or even exceeding their 2008-2012 targets under the protocol. The EU will make a point of spotlighting this performance at the United Nations climate conference in Doha (26 November-7 December) as proof that it is keeping its commitments and its leadership in tackling climate change.
For the EU’s Environment Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, “these figures prove once again that emissions can be cut without sacrificing the economy”. She added: “Now it is important to stay the course: reaching the 20% target in 2020 will not happen automatically. It calls for continued efforts. With new initiatives and legislation, like the energy efficiency directive, the EU is on track to reduce its emissions by more than 20%”.
Data for 2011 show that EU15 GHG emissions dropped by 3.6% and EU27 emissions by 2.7% in 2011 compared with 2010. EU15 emissions fell to 14% below the base-year level in 2011 and EU27 emissions to roughly 18% below 1990 levels. GDP for the period 1990-2011 rose by 43% for the EU15 and 48% for the EU27 and by around 1.5% from 2010 to 2011. Although the economy has expanded significantly, emissions have declined, which proves, notes the Commission, that it is possible to decouple economic growth from emissions.
The report details performances by member states: six EU15 states – Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden and the United Kingdom – are on track to meeting their individual emissions reduction targets. Taking into account the use of all available instruments, Italy alone is not expected to meet its targets. In most of the 12 countries that joined the Union in 2004 or later, emissions are set to rise slightly for 2009-2012. However, nine are set to meet the targets under the protocol using existing measures and policies.
EEA CONFIRMS TREND
This analysis is confirmed by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which simultaneously published its report on GHG trends in the EU. The largest emissions reductions from 2010 to 2011 were seen in countries whose shares in total EU emissions are the smallest: 13% for Cyprus and 8% for Belgium, Finland and Denmark. The United Kingdom made the biggest cuts in absolute terms (-36 million tonnes CO2 equivalent, or 6%) in 2011, followed by France (24 Mt CO2 eq or 5%) and Germany (17 Mt CO2 eq or 2%). Nine member states increased emissions between 2011 and 2012. Bulgaria headed the list with 11%, followed by Lithuania with 3% and Romania with 2%. Report on: http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/ghg-trends-and-projections-2012
“The EU will over-deliver on its Kyoto target,” said Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director. “In two months’ time we will be at the end of the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. Considerable progress has been made since 1997 [year the protocol was concluded] but all member states need to deliver on their plans.” For those that have not achieved their target through domestic emission reductions, she added, the Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms remain available until 2015.
“The EU will over-deliver on its Kyoto target,” says Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director.(1) the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions(2) Available on
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