Climate and energy targets – EU largely on track but mixed picture across Member States

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Press Release Published 08 Oct 2013 Last modified 03 Jun 2016
2 min read
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European Union Member States are showing mixed progress towards three climate and energy targets for 2020, even though the EU as a whole could reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 21% in 2020 with the set of national measures already adopted. These findings come from new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessments.

We must keep building on this success - to achieve the emissions cuts demanded by science, Member States must ensure that they are not making choices today that become obstacles to a low carbon future.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director

EEA's report 'Trends and projections in Europe 2013' considers EU progress in meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. The European Union reduced emissions between 1990 and 2012 by approximately 18 % - so it is already close to the target of 20 % emissions reduction by 2020.

The EU was also on track towards its common target for renewable energy consumption – renewables contributed 13 % of final energy consumption in 2011, which should increase to 20% by 2020. The collective primary energy consumption of the EU is expected to decrease towards the political objective by 2020, although more policies are needed at Member State level.

While the assessment of Member State progress shows overall relatively good progress towards climate and energy targets, no single Member State is on track towards meeting all three targets. Equally, no Member State is underperforming in all three areas.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said: "EEA's latest analysis confirms that renewable energy and energy efficiency are having a significant effect on bringing down emissions. We must keep building on this success - to achieve the emissions cuts demanded by science, Member States must ensure that they are not making choices today that become obstacles to a low carbon future."

First overall picture of Kyoto Protocol period 2008-2012

Emissions fell almost 1 % in 2012, according to approximate 2012 greenhouse gas emissions data published recently. The EEA report released today also builds on these figures, providing for the first time a complete picture of emission reductions achieved under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008–2012).

The 15 Member States with a common commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (EU-15) are estimated to have reduced emissions between 2008 and 2012 by 12.2 %, well beyond the 8 % target required under the Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, almost all European countries with an individual greenhouse gas reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol (26 Member States of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) were on track towards their respective targets. Two EU Member States do not have an individual target for 2008–2012.

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) supported many Member States in achieving Kyoto targets. When targets were agreed for ETS and non-ETS sectors, some countries put more emphasis on achieving emission reductions in economic sectors that are not part of the ETS, such as road transport and households. The EEA finds that these countries need to acquire relatively large quantities of Kyoto emission credits to reach their individual targets. This concerns in particular Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Spain.

More country-specific information is available in a series of national profiles.

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