EU reaches CO2 stabilisation target despite upturn in greenhouse gas emissions
Copenhagen, 29 April 2002
The European Union has delivered on its long-standing commitment to stabilise emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) - the main "greenhouse" gas responsible for man-made global climate change - at their 1990 level by 2000, despite an emissions upturn in the final year of the period.
Total CO2 emissions from the 15 EU Member States were 0.5% lower in 2000 than 10 years earlier, the latest emissions inventory from the European Environment Agency shows.
Less positive, however, is that EU emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases rose between 1999 and 2000, the most recent year for which EU-wide data are available. CO2 accounts for around 80% of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions.
CO2 emissions taken alone increased by 0.5% in 1999-2000, while emissions of CO2 and the five other gases controlled by the Kyoto climate change Protocol together rose by 0.3%.
Under the Kyoto Protocol the EU is required to cut its combined emissions of the six gases to 8% below their 1990 level by the years 2008-2012.
The latest inventory shows that in 2000 total EU greenhouse gas emissions stood 3.5% below their 1990 level. In 1999 they had been 3.8% lower, according to the most recent estimates.
"These figures make clear that in 2000 the EU suffered a slight reversal in its progress towards achieving its Kyoto target," EEA Executive Director Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán said. "The situation is now that the EU is slightly less than half way towards reaching the target, with just over half of the time gone before the Protocol's first compliance period starts in 2008."
One of the main reasons for the overall emissions rise from 1999 to 2000 was a 2.4% increase in CO2 emissions from electricity and heat production, due in part to an expansion of power generation from fossil fuels, especially coal, in the UK, the EU's second-largest emitter. Another reason was continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy and Belgium.
The year-2000 figures mean that more than half of the European Union countries are still heading towards overshooting their agreed share of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions target by a wide margin. This is the case for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Spain is furthest away from keeping to its share of the EU target: its emissions in 2000 stood 33.7% higher than a decade earlier, more than double the 15% increase it is allowed between 1990 and 2008-2012.
At the other end of the scale Germany, the largest EU emitter, has achieved the greatest emissions cut among the big Member States, recording a 19.1% decrease over the decade. This is not far off the 21% reduction from 1990 levels that Germany is required to show by 2008-2012.
Details of EU and Member State emissions are shown in the Annex to this news release. EEA will publish an analysis of the emission figures and trends in autumn 2002.
The inventory is available on the EEA's web site at http://reports.eea.europa.eu/technical_report_2002_75/en.
Notes to editors
- In October 1990 the EU committed itself to holding its year-2000 CO2 emissions at or below their 1990 level. It formalised the commitment when it signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in June 1992.
- The 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC will control industrialised countries' emissions of CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), plus three fluorinated industrial gases: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The EU is responsible for around 24% of industrialised countries' man-made emissions of the six gases. The EU hopes the Protocol will receive enough ratifications to enter into force by the time the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development takes place in August-September 2002 in Johannesburg.
- A "burden-sharing" agreement between EU governments lays down differentiated emissions limits for each Member State with the aim of ensuring that the EU meets its overall 8% reduction commitment under the Protocol. The limits are expressed in terms of percentages by which Member States must reduce, or in some cases may hold or increase, their emissions compared with the base year level (1990). The national commitments are shown in Table 1 in the Annex.
- The inventory was compiled from data provided by Member States and quality-checked for the European Commission by the EEA and its Topic Centre on air and climate change. The Commission has submitted it to the Secretariat of the UNFCCC. The inventory is published as EEA Technical Report No 75 and titled Annual European Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2000. Submission to the Secretariat of the UNFCCC.
- The inventory represents the best available estimate of emissions and is based on the agreed methodology of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It covers emissions of the six Kyoto gases from all sources, with the exception of emissions from international aviation and marine transport, for which no internationally accepted methodologies exist yet, and of emissions from, and removals by, land use change and forestry.
About the EEA
The European Environment Agency is the main source of information used by the European Union and its Member States in developing environment policies. The Agency aims to support sustainable development and to help achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe's environment through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy-making agents and the public. Established by the EU in 1990 and operational in Copenhagen since 1994, the EEA is the hub of the European environment information and observation network (EIONET), a network of some 600 bodies across Europe through which it both collects and disseminates environment-related data and information.
The Agency, which is open to all nations that share its objectives, currently has 29 member countries. These are the 15 EU Member States; Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, which are members of the European Economic Area; and 11 of the 13 countries in central and eastern Europe and the Mediterranean area that are seeking accession to the EU - Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic. Their membership makes the EEA the first EU body to take in the candidate countries. It is anticipated that the two remaining candidate countries, Poland and Turkey, will ratify their membership agreements within the next few months. This will take the Agency's membership to 31 countries. Negotiations with Switzerland on membership are also under way.
The following figures and tables give details, for each Member State and the EU overall, of trends in emissions of all greenhouse gases and CO2 up to 2000, excluding emissions from and removals by land use change and forestry.
Figure 1: Total EU greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the Kyoto target
Table 1: Greenhouse gas emission trends and Kyoto Protocol targets for 2008-2012
1)For the fluorinated gases some Member States have
selected a base year other than 1990, as allowed for under the
2)For Denmark, data that reflect adjustments for electricity trade (import and export) in 1990 are given in brackets. This methodology is used by Denmark to monitor progress towards its national target under the EU "burden sharing” agreement. For the EU emissions total non-adjusted Danish data have been used.
3)The EEA's evaluation of progress to 2000 awards "smileys” according to the distance-to-target indicator in 2000. The distance-to-target indicator (DTI) is a measure of the deviation of actual greenhouse gas emissions in 2000 from the linear target path between 1990 and the Kyoto Protocol target for 2008-2012, assuming that only domestic measures will be used. The following rating system is used:
Positive contribution to EU trend: the negative distance-to-target indicator means that the Member State is below its linear target path
Negative contribution to EU trend: the positive distance-to-target indicator means that the Member State is above its linear target path
Table 2: CO2 emissions and targets for 2000
Figure 2: Distance-to-target (DTI) for EU Member States in 2000 (Kyoto Protocol and EU burden sharing targets)
The distance-to-target indicator (DTI) is a measure of the deviation of actual greenhouse gas emissions in 2000 from the linear target path between 1990 and the Kyoto Protocol target for 2008-2012, assuming that only domestic measures will be used (see Figure 1). For example, Spain is allowed a 15% increase from 1990 levels by 2008-2012, so its theoretical "linear target" for 2000 is a rise of no more than 7.5%. Its actual emissions in 2000 show an increase of 33.7% since 1990, hence its "distance to target" is 33.7-7.5, or 26.2 index points. Germany's Kyoto target is a 21% reduction, so its theoretical "linear target" for 2000 is a decrease of 10.5%. Actual emissions in 2000 were 19.1% lower than in 1990, hence its distance to target is 19.1-10.5, or 8.6 index points.
1) The Danish DTI is 0.7 index points if Danish greenhouse gas emissions are adjusted for electricity trade in 1990. This methodology is used by Denmark to monitor progress towards its national target under the EU "burden sharing” agreement. For the EU emissions total non-adjusted Danish data have been used.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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