Press Release

EU within reach of Kyoto targets

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Press Release Published 20 Nov 2007 Last modified 03 Jun 2016
6 min read
The EU-15 can meet, and may even over-shoot, its 2012 Kyoto target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 8 % below 1990 levels if Member States implement now all additional policies being planned, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), released today in Copenhagen.

On New Year’s Day 2008 the serious business of Kyoto begins for real.

EEA Executive Director Prof. Jacqueline McGlade

The report, 'Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2007', presents an evaluation of data between 1990 and 2005. More importantly, the report evaluates Member State projections of future greenhouse gas emissions and provides a good indication of progress towards Kyoto targets. The report is of particular relevance in the context of the rapidly approaching 'first commitment period' of the Kyoto Protocol which runs from 2008 to 2012 (1). (See notes)

EU-15 Emissions in 2005: According to the new report:

  • EU-15 emissions decreased by 0.8 % between 2004 and 2005
  • EU-15 emissions reached a level 2 % below the Kyoto base year (2)

'On New Year's Day 2008 the serious business of Kyoto begins for real. All available measures should now be implemented. Significant emission reductions will take place through the emissions trading scheme, the EU's 'cap and trade' programme for carbon (3). As the scheme matures and expands we will see it establishing itself as a blueprint for a global carbon market — an important part of any post-Kyoto agreement,' said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA.

Within the shared Kyoto target, each EU-15 Member State has a differentiated emissions target, which can be achieved by a variety of means. The 12 new EU Member States are not part of the joint EU-15 target but all, except Cyprus and Malta, have individual targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Looking ahead — the Road to Kyoto: Based on Member State projections, the report says that existing domestic policies and measures (4) will reduce EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions by a net effect of 4.0 % below base-year levels. When additional domestic policies and measures (i.e. those planned but not yet implemented) are taken into account, the EU-15 could reduce emissions by an additional 3.9 %.

The projected use of Kyoto mechanisms (5) by ten of the EU-15 will reduce emissions by a further 2.5 %. These governments have set aside EUR 2.9 billion to pay for this. The use of carbon sinks, such as planting forests to remove CO2, will reduce emissions by an additional 0.9 %. As a result, the EU could even achieve an 11.4 % reduction, the report says. All new Member States with a target expect to meet their target.

Key instrument: The EU emissions trading scheme will bring significant emission reductions between 2008 and 2012, according to the report. It is expected to contribute a reduction of at least 3.4 %, part of which is already reflected in some Member States projections. This would represent a further reduction of at least 1.3 % to the total of 11.4 % from base-year emissions in the EU-15.

Notes to the editor:

Background to the report
The report, prepared by the EEA and its European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change (ETC/ACC), complements the annual evaluation report of the European Commission to the Council and European Parliament. For more information see the Commission website.

The EEA report covers 33 countries including:

  • EU-15 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
  • New Member States: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia.
  • Acceding countries: Croatia, Turkey.
  • Other EEA member countries: Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland.

An individual annex is provided for each country covered by the report.

Data source: The report is based on data and information submitted by the countries to the European Commission and the EEA by 1 June 2007. For the past trends, it is entirely based on EEA Technical report No 7/2007 Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2005 and inventory report 2007. See press release (15 June 2007).

  1. EU Kyoto Targets: The EU-15 has a Kyoto target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 % from base-year levels (see below) by 2012. Within this overall target, each EU-15 member state has a differentiated reduction target; some should reduce emissions while others are allowed a limited increase. New Member States have individual targets except Cyprus and Malta, which have no targets. Countries can achieve these targets by a variety of means.
  2. Base-year emissions: Under the Kyoto Protocol the GHG emission level in the 'base year' is the relevant starting point for tracking progress of domestic emissions for EU-15 and all Member States which have a Kyoto target. The EU-27 does not have a Kyoto target and an aggregated base year for the EU-27 is therefore not applicable in any discussion of progress towards Kyoto targets. The base year is not a 'year' per se, but the emission level from which emission reductions will take place. For carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide 1990 is used as the 'base year' for all EU-15 Member States. But for fluorinated gases, the EU-15 Member States can choose to use the emission levels in 1995 instead. Twelve of the 15 Member States have chosen to use 1995 as their base year for fluorinated gas emissions. In practice, EU-15 base-year emissions can be considered close to 1990 emissions.
  3. EU Emissions Trading Scheme: The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is the European Union's climate change policy tool, which helps industries to cut their CO2 emissions in a cost-effective way. It requires a cap on emissions for all large CO2 emission sources. In the EU-15, the ETS is estimated to cut 3.4 % from base-year emissions.
  4. Domestic policies and measures: Domestic policies and measures take place within the national boundaries of the country and include: the promotion of electricity from renewable energy; improvements in energy efficiency; promotion of biofuels in transport; reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from cars; recovery of gases from landfills and reduction of fluorinated gases.
  5. Kyoto Mechanisms: The Kyoto Mechanisms help developed countries to achieve their Kyoto targets by gaining credits through carbon cutting activities in other countries. They also help the transfer of low-carbon technologies to other countries. The projected use of Kyoto mechanisms by ten of the EU-15 Member States will reduce emissions by 2010 by 2.5 % from base-year levels. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. For more information on Kyoto mechanisms see the UNFCCC website.

Overview of progress for EU Member States and other EEA member countries

Table 1

: National projections provided by 1 June 2007 have been taken into account in this report.

  1. Projected net removal from carbon sink activities (land-use change and forestry).
  2. Denmark projects it will reach its target by initiating new national climate initiatives, although these have not yet been identified.
  3. In July 2007, Spain adopted a Plan of Urgent Measures against Climate Change. Spain plans that these measures will allow it to fulfil its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

Greenhouse gas emissions projections for 2010 in Europe

Table 2

About the European Environment Agency (EEA):

The EEA is based in Copenhagen. The agency aims to help achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe's environment through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy makers and the public.

Contact information:

Brendan Killeen
Press Officer

Phone: +45 33 36 72 69
Mobile: +45 23 68 36 71

Marion Hannerup
Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs

Phone: +45 33 36 71 60
Mobile: +45 51 33 22 43


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