EU still not on track to meet Kyoto targets

14 June 2007

New emissions data shows EU must drastically step up climate change efforts

Brussels, 14 June 2007 - Friends of the Earth Europe has demanded an urgent acceleration of action to fight climate change by European governments, after new data released by the European Commission today reveals that overall EU emissions are still not on track to meet Kyoto targets. [1]

EU emissions slightly decreased in 2005 relative to the previous year, by 0.7 percent - the first decrease since 2001. But in 2005, the combined EU-15 emissions were still only 1.5 percent below 1990 levels [2], meaning that the EU-15 is not on course to meet its international Kyoto Protocol obligations to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 8 percent by 2012. Spain, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Italy and Ireland are still furthest from their Kyoto emissions targets [3].

Sonja Meister, Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Europe said:
"The new data clearly shows that the EU is still way off course to meet its Kyoto target. The slight drop in emissions in 2005 is a decrease over only one year and is by no means a trend yet. European governments have to seriously increase their efforts to combat climate change, with drastic measures now to set the EU's emissions on a downward path into the long term."

The slight reduction in emissions in 2005 was mainly due to large emissions reductions from Germany, Finland and the Netherlands, which masked increases in many other countries, like Spain and Lithuania. The reduction in Germany and Finland results partly from a shift from coal to cleaner energy sources in the production of public electricity. But at the same time, Friends of the Earth Europe highlights that the decrease in household emissions in Germany and also the Netherlands could be a result of warmer weather conditions, especially since these countries experienced particularly warm winters in 2005.

"Several EU countries are still emitting more greenhouse gases than they did in 1990 or even increased their emissions from 2004 to 2005. The EU keeps on saying that it cares about climate change, but the overall data shows that this is not kicking yet," Sonja Meister added.



[1] The new figures are the greenhouse gas emission figures from 2005, as the data always comes with a delay of two years. In order to meet the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, EU-15 emissions must be on average at least 8 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. EU-15 emissions decreased slightly, by 0.8 percent between 2004 and 2005. But a "linear target path"

drawn from 1990 to 2010 in order to meet the Kyoto target shows that in 2005 emissions should have been 6 percent lower than they were in 1990, instead of only minus 2 percent, compared to the Kyoto base year. The official data is available at

[2] EU 15 = 15 Member States in the EU before the enlargement in 2004:
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

In comparison to the base year for the Kyoto Protocol, EU-15 emissions were 2 percent below the base year. For EU-15, the base year for the Kyoto Protocol for CO2, CH4 and N20 is 1990; for the fluorinated gases 12 Member States have selected 1995 as the base year, whereas Austria, France and Italy have chosen 1990.

[3] The table below lists for each EU-27 country its Kyoto target relative to 1990 levels as well as the current 2005 figures (in brackets), exposing Spain, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Italy and Ireland as being off the track by the widest margin.

Almost all New Member States have drastic reductions in their emissions and will meet their targets - but not as a consequence of intelligent policies but due to their economic collapse of the 1990s. But this trend could be reversed in the future. Lithuania and Slovenia have already emissions increases due to their economic growth.

Almost half of Germany's achievements are not due to progressive climate policy but also result from economic turmoil in Eastern Germany. Likewise, much of the UK's current achievements are the result of a fuel switch from coal to gas in the 1990s when gas was cheaper than coal.

Austria : -13.0% (2005 levels: +18,1%)
Belgium: -7.5% (2005 levels: -2,1%)
Bulgaria: -8,0% (2005 levels: -47,2%)
Cyprus: no Kyoto target (63,7%)
Czech Republic: -8.0% (2005 levels: -25.8%)
Denmark: -21.0% (2005 levels: -7.8%)
Estonia: -8.0% (2005 levels: -52.0%)
Finland: +0.0% (2005 levels: -2,6%)
France : +0.0% (2005 levels: -1,9%)
Germany: -21.0% (2005 levels: -18,7%)
Greece: +25.0% (2005 levels: +25,4%)
Hungary: -6.0% (2005 levels: -34,5%)
Ireland: +13.0% (2005 levels: +25,4%)
Italy: -6.5% (2005 levels: +12.1%)
Latvia: -8.0% (2005 levels: -58.0%)
Lithuania: -8.0% (2005 levels: -53,1%)
Luxembourg: -28.0% (2005 levels: +0.4%)
Malta: no Kyoto target (2005 levels: +54,8%*
Netherlands: -6.0% (2005 levels: -1,1%)
Poland : -6.0% (2005 levels: -32,0%)
Portugal: +27.0% (2005 levels: +40,4%)
Romania: -8% (2005 levels: -45,6%)
Slovakia: -8.0% (2005 levels: -33,6%)
Slovenia: -8.0% (2005 levels: 0,4%)
Spain: +15.0% (2005 levels: +52,3%)
Sweden: +4.0% (2005 levels: -7,4%)
United Kingdom: -12.5% (2005 levels: -15,7%)

*Malta did not provide greenhouse gas emission estimates for 2005, therefore the data provided in this table is based on gap filling (see chapter 1.8.2. in EEA report)

Note: Malta and Cyprus do not have Kyoto targets.


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