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Climate change: EU on track to reach Kyoto targets

Climate change: EU on track to reach Kyoto targets, latest projections show

The EU is well on its way to achieve its Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases on the basis of the policies, measures and third-country projects already implemented or planned. This is the conclusion of a Commission report demonstrating EU progress under the Kyoto Protocol that is to be submitted to the UN climate convention. The latest projections from member states indicate that a combination of existing policies and measures, additional initiatives which are already in an advanced state of planning, and credits gained through the protocol’s mechanisms for promoting emission-saving projects in third countries will reduce combined EU-15 emissions to 9.3% below 1990 levels by 2010. This clearly fulfils the 8% reduction target from 1990 levels that the protocol requires the EU-15 to achieve during 2008-2012. The projections show that EU-25 emissions would be cut by more than 11%. Seventeen member states with emission targets are currently projected to meet them, while the others are in the process of identifying further actions.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “The latest projections show that the EU has successfully transformed its commitment under Kyoto into policies and measures by which it will attain the emissions’ reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. And we have already reduced our emissions despite healthy economic growth. But that does not mean we can be complacent. We will need to fully implement the various emission reduction measures that we have signed up to under our climate change programme and make use of the Kyoto flexible mechanisms CDM and JI.” These mechanisms allow for emission-reducing projects in other countries which generate emission credits.

As announced in June (IP/05/767), by 2003 - the latest year for which complete data are available - greenhouse gas emissions had been reduced by 1.7% in the EU-15 compared with base year levels (in most cases, 1990), while the economy had grown by 27%.

For the EU-25 the reduction was 8.0% from base year levels. There is no collective Kyoto Protocol target for EU-25 emissions. Six of the EU-10 have individual commitments to reduce emissions by 8% from base years of their choice, while Hungary and Poland have 6% reduction targets. Cyprus and Malta have no target.

The report

The projections contained in the Report on “Demonstrable Progress under the Kyoto Protocol” indicate that 17 of the 23 member states which have emission targets are on track to meet them. The projections do not take account of member states’ possible use of carbon “sinks,” such as forests, to offset their emissions.

In the EU-15, existing policies and measures – those already implemented – are projected to reduce combined emissions by 1.6% below 1990 levels by 2010. Additional domestic policies and measures being planned would take the reduction to 6.8%. Plans by 11 of the EU-15 to obtain emission credits through Kyoto’s project-based mechanisms would further increase the total emission savings to 9.3% in 2010.

The report indicates that, of the EU-15, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK are projected to be on track in 2010 (see Annex).

For the EU-25, the projections indicate that emissions would be 5% below base year levels in 2010 as a result of measures already implemented. With the implementation of additional measures being planned the reduction would be 9.3% and with the use of Kyoto mechanisms, 11.3%. Of the EU-10, so far only Slovenia plans to use the mechanisms.

European Climate Change Programme

More than 30 policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have been implemented at EU level as a result of the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP), set up by the Commission in 2000. Measures developed from the ECCP’s work include the EU’s innovative emissions trading scheme, the directive on energy efficiency standards for buildings and legislation on fluorinated industrial gases.

The second phase of the ECCP was launched in October. It will give particular attention to reviewing the state of implementation of ECCP I, to capture and storage of carbon emissions and to emissions from road vehicles and aviation. The role of the EU in reducing society’s vulnerability to climate change and promoting adaptation to it will also be explored. Further policy initiatives in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy are also foreseen.

Montreal conference

The 11th conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is taking place in Montreal from 28 November to 9 December. The conference also serves as the first meeting of parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol requires parties with emission targets to show ‘demonstrable progress’ by 31 December 2005 towards meeting these and to report on it. Commissioner Dimas will participate in the ministerial segment of the conference on 7-9 December.

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