Press Release

EU must take immediate action on Kyoto targets

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Press Release Published 25 Oct 2006 Last modified 03 Jun 2016
5 min read
All Member States must seriously tackle greenhouse gas emissions immediately, if the EU-15 is to meet its collective Kyoto target, a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report states.

The report, 'Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2006', presents an evaluation of historic data between 1990 and 2004. It also evaluates projections of European countries’ progress towards their 2010 greenhouse gas emissions targets.

“Levels of greenhouse gases would be much higher without current efforts to cut emissions. However, several countries within the EU-15 are not doing enough and could jeopardise the collective effort,” said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA. 

The EU-15 has a Kyoto target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 % on 1990 levels by 2012. Within this overall target, each EU-15 member state has a differentiated emissions target, which can be achieved by a variety of means.

Only by implementing all existing and planned domestic policy measures and using Kyoto mechanisms and carbon sinks, can emissions be brought down to 8.0 %, the EU-15 target, according to the report. However, this projection relies on figures from several Member States suggesting they will cut emissions by more than is required to meet their national targets and this cannot be assured, the report stresses.

Looking ahead to 2010, the report says that existing domestic policies and measures will reduce EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions by a net effect of 0.6 % from 1990 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 4.0 %.

The projected use of Kyoto mechanisms by ten of the EU-15 will reduce emissions by a further 2.6 % at a cost of EUR 2 830 million. The use of carbon sinks, such as planting forests to remove CO2, would reduce emissions by an additional 0.8 %.

Between 1990 and 2004, EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions decreased from most sectors, the report says. However, emissions from the transport sector increased by nearly 26 % and are projected to increase to 35 % above 1990 levels by 2010, if countries use only existing policies. If additional policies are implemented, Member States project that transport emissions will, at best, stabilise at 2004 levels.

The ten new EU Member States are not part of the joint EU-15 target and all, except Cyprus and Malta, have individual targets under the Kyoto Protocol. They are all on track to meet their targets, but this is largely due to the collapse of economies in the 1990s and emissions are now rising again in these countries, the report says.

Also see:
The European Commission's new report, 'Progress towards achieving the Kyoto targets'

Notes to the editor:

Background on 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 web site:

The EEA report covers 33 countries including:
EU-15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

New Member States: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

Acceding countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Turkey.

Other EEA member countries: Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland.

Data source
The report is based on data and information submitted by the countries to the European Commission and the EEA by 6 June 2006.

EU Kyoto Targets
The EU-15 has a Kyoto target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 % on 1990 levels 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.

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.

Note: All Member States should have delivered a national allocation plan (NAP) for the Kyoto period to the European Commission. This plan should include “emission caps” for industries that are included in the emission trading sectors, and should have been delivered by 30th June, 2006. However, not all countries have done so to date and the Commission has not so far published formal opinions on the NAPs. Because the EEA report only includes information on national projections provided by countries by 6th June, 2006, it does not include any new national projection information provided within the recent NAPs.  For more information on NAPs see:

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.

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 2.6 %. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. For more information on Kyoto mechanisms see the UNFCCC web site:

Annex 2 – Overview of progress for EU Member States and other EEA member countries

National projections for 2010

Policies and measures included in
national projections

Member States

New EU Member States

Other EEA member countries

Kyoto target on track

Existing domestic policies and measures


United Kingdom*




Existing and planned domestic policies and measures




Czech Republic*








Existing domestic policies and measures

Use of Kyoto mechanisms




Existing and planned domestic policies and measures

Use of Kyoto mechanisms


The Netherlands*



Kyoto target not on track

Existing and planned domestic policies and measures





Existing and planned domestic policies and measures

Use of Kyoto mechanisms










No Kyoto target






National projections provided by 6th June, 2006 have been taken into account in this report.

 * Projected net removal from carbon sink activities (land use change and forestry).

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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